ISRAELI SOCCER STAR Eran Zahavi (left) poses with Guangzhou R&F chairman Zhang Li after inking a lucrative three-year contract extension with the Chinese club..
(photo credit: INSTAGRAM)
Eran Zahavi signed the richest contract in Israeli sports history on Monday, agreeing to a three-year contract extension with Chinese club Guangzhou R&F that is set to earn him a minimum of $10 million per season.
The 30-year-old forward, who joined Guangzhou from Maccabi Tel Aviv in the summer of 2016, was the Chinese league’s top scorer last season with 27 goals, just one shy of the league record.
Zahavi was always likely to receive a raise in the off-season, especially with some of the league’s bigger clubs expressing interest in his services. Guangzhou R&F, which finished last season in fifth place, was reluctant to sell him and ultimately agreed to pay him double the amount he was handed when he first arrived less than two years ago.
Zahavi will also continue to receive a $20,000 bonus for every goal he scores, as well as a $1,000,000 bonus if he is once more crowned as the league’s top scorer. He also has a clause that will pay him $1,000,000 if the team surprisingly wins the league championship and $500,000 for qualifying for the Asian Champions League, a far likelier prospect.
Guangzhou opens its new campaign on Friday when it faces defending champion Guangzhou Evergrande in the derby.
“Of course it is exciting,” said Zahavi. “Any time you sign a contract it means that you had a good season last year and that you need to improve yourself this season.
I think it shows the respect the club has for me and the respect I have for the club.”
Zahavi said he is hoping to once more win the league’s golden boot.
“Of course it is part of my targets,” he noted. “It won’t be easy to achieve it again but I’m sure that I can do it again. I can’t promise it will happen, but I promise that I will try to do it and that I will do my best for the team.”