Israeli winger Liel Abada left Celtic FC over ‘disgusting’ treatment by pro-Palestine fans, claims former manager

Abada has moved to Charlotte FC in the US over reported hostility from Glasgow fans


Israeli footballer Liel Abada, 22, has left Celtic FC after reportedly being subject to abuse by pro-Palestine fans. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Israeli footballer Liel Abada has left Celtic FC after being treated "disgustingly” by pro-Palestine fans of the team, according to a statement by his former manager earlier this week.

Avi Luzon, chief of Israeli club Maccabi Petah Tikvah where Abada rose to fame before transferring to Celtic in 2021, said on Sport 5 that the fans “left him no choice” but to leave the Glasgow-based football club.

“On a personal level, Liel Abada felt very bad with everything that was happening, including the indignation of the fans on the street towards him — more than once,” Luzon said during an interview with the Israeli sports channel.

“Liel felt unwelcome where he was – there were hostile looks and it's not nice to feel that.”

The 22-year-old international winger cut short his five-year contract with Celtic and has been acquired by Charlotte FC for a reported £8 million, announced by the American club on Thursday.

Brendan Rodgers, manager of Celtic, said that Abada had not been in the right “frame of mind” since the war in Gaza began, and sat out the Scottish champions’ last five matches.

In February, Rodgers dismissed an Israeli report that Abada had been subjected to abuse by Celtic fans on the streets in Glasgow and told The Herald: “I’m not aware of that. I speak regularly with Liel. It’s sadly a situation which doesn’t put him in the right frame of mind to play.”

Addressing the news in an Instagram post on Thursday, Abada wrote that leaving Celtic “wasn’t in my plans, yet life’s unpredictable turns remind us that we’re not always in control.

“The past six months have been a personal challenge, yet the overwhelming support from the Gaffer, coaches, and board has been my rock. Their unwavering faith during these times won’t be forgotten but cherished forever.”

He paid tribute to the “incredible Israeli community in Glasgow” and added a special thanks to the Celtic fans, despite the tense conditions of his departure: “Recent times were very difficult for myself and my family but I want to say thank you to all the Celtic fans that stood by me, supported and respected me as a Celtic player and I hope that I have given you few moments to remember me by.”

The former PFA Young Player of the Year has signed a contract with Charlotte through 2026 with an option for 2027 and will occupy an international roster slot.

Charlotte general manager Zoran Krnet commented on the club’s website: "Liel has been one of the most exciting young wingers in Europe and we're delighted to welcome him to Charlotte.

"He's an elite goal scorer and chance creator who is a proven winner that is determined to bring trophies home to the club and our supporters."

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