eyal berkovic 88.
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Former Israeli international Eyal Berkovic let his mouth get the better of him once again this weekend.
In an interview on Channel 2's Meet The Press, he lashed out at current national soccer team coach Avraham Grant. "He deceives everybody, he claims achievements that he hasn't accomplished," the Maccabi Tel Aviv midfielder said. "Professionally, Grant has failed and he should take the responsibility and resign."
While a Berkovic attack on Grant was not that much of a surprise, his response when asked who should replace him was. "I'm prepared to retire from my playing career tomorrow and put everything aside to become the national coach. The team needs a young and dynamic manager who understands the players."
Following the interview, Berkovic was dropped from Maccabi Tel Aviv's starting lineup against Hapoel Petah Tikva Saturday night. Maccabi coach Nir Klinger had asked Berkovic last week not to comment about the national coach position and reacted immediately. "Dropping Berkovic from the team had nothing to do with the interview," Klinger said after the match.
So why was Berkovic, who did appear as a substitute, not in the starting 11? "I asked him not to attack or say anything personal against Grant, but he chose not to respect my request," Klinger explained.
Grant decided to restructure the national team for its recent 2006 World Cup campaign, which was ultimately unsuccessful even though the squad went undefeated in arguably the toughest group in Europe, and Berkovic was never called up.
After being left off the team last year, Berkovic furiously attacked Grant and effectively ended any chance of being called up again during Grant's tenure, as well as initiating a public feud with the national coach.
Berkovic, 33, one of Israel's all-time greatest players, returned to play in Israel this year after a long and successful period in the English and Scottish premier leagues.