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Spanish midfielder Javi Gonzalez was unveiled as an SC Ashdod player on Tuesday afternoon, completing the biggest transfer in the small club's history.
Gonzalez, 31, was welcomed at the airport by his friend Haim Revivo who was responsible for the arrival of the player. The two played together in 1996 at Spanish club Celta Vigo and have been good friends ever since.
Gonzalez left Athletic Bilbao will play for Ashdod for the next six months and will return to Spain at the end of the season.
"I feel good, Iâ€šm happy to be in Israel and I hope to help Ashdod improve," said Gonzalez at a press conference after signing his contract.
"I know the Israeli league well. It is a very good league and I know that Maccabi Haifa is in a class of its own." Gonzalez has only played a handful of matches for Bilbao this season and will not have long to adapt to the Israeli league.
"It won't be easy to adjust to Israeli soccer," said Gonzalez. "I haven't played for a long time, but I'll do all I can to get into shape as soon as possible and help Ashdod as much as I can." Gonzalez has played at Athletic Bilbao for the last seven seasons and was a first team player until the start of this season.
The midfielder lost his place in the team and has decided to come to Ashdod because of his friendship with Revivo and to get some first team soccer before returning to Spain next season.
Club sponsor Jackie Ben Zaken, spoke of his excitement at the Spanish veteran's arrival to Israel.
"It's a special day for Ashdod in particular and for Israeli soccer in general. It's a festive day for Ashdod when a player with 10 years experience in the best league of the world comes to play for the club.
I hope Gonzalez will show his best soccer while playing for the team."
For his part, Revivo ruled out the possibility of him returning to first class soccer.
"I love soccer and would love to play, but my short comeback a couple years ago showed me that I don't need to play in order to enjoy soccer and can enjoy it at home with my children."
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