New Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Oscar Garcia said he would like to turn the club into the Barcelona of Israel after being unveiled as the yellow-and-blue’s new boss on Thursday.

The 39-year-old Oscar spent the last two years coaching the Barcelona youth team after a successful playing career, which saw him score 21 goals in 69 league appearances for the Blaugrana, as well as play for the likes of Valencia and Espanyol.

However, Oscar will be guiding a senior team for the first time with Maccabi and he attempted to answer his many doubters via a translator at the club’s training complex at Kiryat Shalom on Thursday.

“I can’t promise to win titles, but I promise to do my best,” Oscar said. “I expect to succeed and will invest a lot of work with the players.

“I want to make the fans happy and the fact that I’m a foreigner will not be a problem.”

Following Oscar’s signing, none of the four most important people at Maccabi are Israelis, with the owner Canadian Mitch Goldhar, his representative in Israel the Cypriot Jack Angelides and the sports director Dutchman Jordi Cruyff.

“I had better financial offers, but I preferred to come here because of the challenge,” Oscar claimed.

“I had the opportunity to become the Barcelona B coach in two years time, but I wanted to come here as I feel ready to be the Maccabi coach. I will certainly try to make Maccabi the Barcelona of Israel.”

Cruyff was confident the signing of Oscar will prove to be a significant step in the right direction for Maccabi.

“I think he perfectly fits in to the profile that the ownership is looking for,” he said. “He’s a young coach and he’s open minded and he wants to work very hard.

“I’m very happy he made this step because it is not an easy step and good coaches are wanted by many.

“I think Oscar is one of the most exciting coaches in Spanish football. I have a lot of faith in him as a coach.

“In 5-10 years time I think we will be proud to say that we helped Oscar at the start of his career.”

Maccabi hasn’t won a championship since the 2002/03 campaign, and despite having the biggest budget in the league, only finished in sixth place last season.

However, Cruyff refused to lower expectations for the coming campaign.

“We will play every game to win. We want to win every competition we play in,” Cruyff said.

“From my personal point of view I want Maccabi to be a club of doers and not talkers. For sure you will see 11 players doing all they can to win.

“It’s obvious at Maccabi that we want to be a winning club with a winning mentality.”

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