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(photo credit: www.beitar-jerusalem.net)
Idan Tal completed his move to Betar Jerusalem on Wednesday, agreeing to a three-year deal with the Premier League champion.
The Israeli international, who was released from English Premier League club Bolton last week, took part in his first training session with the squad on Wednesday.
Tal, 31, said he intended to end his career with Betar.
"I would have definitely played much more at Bolton next season, but I was excited about coming to play for Betar," he said. "My family will be happier here, and so will I. I know people have high expectations of me, but that doesn't worry me.
"This is a great club with great fans. People have forgotten that I grew up in Jerusalem, so I'm not surprised about the warm welcome I've received."
Tal will make an estimated $500,000 a year at Betar.
"This is the second time I've returned to Israel from Europe to play for a team coached by Itzhak Schum," he said. The midfielder played for Schum's Maccabi Haifa after returning to Israel from Spanish side Rayo Vallecano in 2003. "He's a great man with massive experience. Combine him with [general manager] Giora Spiegel, whom I've gotten to known recently, and you have two great professionals who have been through everything in soccer."
Bolton manager Sammy Lee said he tried to convince Tal to stay.
"I told him that he would have a great chance to get more games this season, and he desperately wanted to stay for professional reasons," he said.
"But his family has gone back home and said that they would like to stay in Israel and, out of respect for the player and his family, we've agreed to that.
"He's a terrific person and player and I didn't want to stand in his way, but it's a loss to me."
Also on Wednesday, Dutch striker Robin Nelisse arrived in Israel to meet with Betar officials about a possible move. The 29-year-old, who began his professional career with Dutch giants Feyenoord Rotterdam in 1997, played for FC Utrecht in the last two seasons, scoring 11 goals in 50 appearances.
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