Benayoun has been Israel’s most successful player. He made a record 102 international appearances for country, scoring 24 goals.
He came up through the ranks of Hapoel Beer Sheva and Maccabi Haifa and after a spell in Spain with Racing Santander moved to West Ham in 2005, before playing for Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal. After playing for QPR, he returned to Israel in 2014.
“Retirement is a big word for me because football has been an integral part of my life since I began my journey from Dimona and Beer Sheva to Haifa, 12 years in Europe and then back to Israel.
"It’s important for me to thank the fans, the ones who gave me love wherever I went,” said Benayoun. “I am sure that the next chapter in my career will be challenging and no less exciting. There are moments I’ll take with me for life.”
His career highlights include winning the Europa League with Chelsea in 2013, scoring the winning goal for Liverpool in a 1-0 win over Real Madrid at the Bernabau in the
Champions League final-16 tie in 2009, and scoring in Arsenal’s 3-2 win over WBA on the final day of the season in 2012 to clinch Champions League football for the Gunners.
In Israel, he won two league championships with Maccabi Haifa under Avram Grant in 2000 and 2001, having taken them to the quarter finals of the then European Cup Winners Cup in 1998 when he was just a teenager. On returning to Israel he won the Israel FA Cup with Maccabi Haifa in 2016.
Beitar owner Moshe Hogeg said that Benayoun would have full responsibility for choosing the club’s head coach and the players that make up the squad.