Cruyff handed the keys to Mac TA by Goldhar

Cruyff speaks of his confidence of leading the troubled club to the success that has eluded it in recent years.

April 16, 2012 06:33
2 minute read.
New Maccabi Tel Aviv sporting director Jordi Cruyf

New Maccabi Tel Aviv sporting director Jordi Cruyff (left. (photo credit: Maccabi Tel Aviv website)


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Jordi Cruyff was unveiled as Maccabi Tel Aviv’s new sports director on Sunday afternoon and spoke of his confidence of leading the troubled club to the success that has eluded it in recent years.

Maccabi remains Israel’s most decorated club with 14 championships and 16 State Cups to its name despite winning just a single league title and lifting only three cups in the past 16 seasons.

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The yellow-and-blue has gone seven years since its last significant title, winning the cup in 2005, two seasons after claiming its last championship to date.

Despite a massive investment, there has been little improvement to Maccabi fortunes since Canadian Mitch Goldhar took control of the club in the summer of 2009.

But Cruyff, who joins Maccabi after two seasons in a similar position at Cypriot club AEK Larnaca, is optimistic he has what it takes to turn the illustrious club around.

“I’m confident things will be better,” he said at a press conference at Maccabi’s training complex in Kiryat Shalom on Sunday. “I think I can add the right ingredients for things to be better.

“For me this is an important step up, but I hope that in 10 years time everyone will also look back at my experience here as a positive one.”


The first task facing the ex-Manchester United and Barcelona forward will be to name a new coach, with caretaker Nir Levine guiding the side since Moti Ivanir was sacked in December.

Ran Ben-Shimon is the early favorite for the job due to his imminent departure from Ironi Kiryat Shmona after guiding the club to an historic championship, but Cruyff has no intention to rush into a decision.

“My plans are to analyze all the options and to have meetings also with coaches here,” he said. “We will make the right decision when the moment is right which is obviously not now. I don’t think anyone wins by making premature announcements.”

The last two coaches Cruyff brought in to Larnaca were Dutch, and while Goldhar wouldn’t rule out signing an Israeli, the owner hinted that he is leaning towards a foreigner, saying “the world is large” when asked about the team’s next coach.

“I think his age and the stage of his career is ideal for us,” Goldhar said of Cruyff, 38, son of former Dutch great Johan. “I like someone on the rise who hasn’t peaked yet.

“When I acquired the club I inherited an existing infrastructure. It takes time to get to know that. It’s a folly just to jump in. This has been a learning process for me. It has been a very steep learning curve. Sometimes impatience is very damaging. You can bring the whole thing down by being impatient.”

Cruyff was on hand to watch Maccabi’s 1-1 draw at Ashdod SC on Saturday, and although he admitted he still has plenty to learn about Israeli soccer, he did claim to be impressed with the level of the local players.

“The more I look into local football I’m happily surprised by the talent you have,” he said. “I think that most people in Europe don’t always have the right impression of football in Israel.”

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