Local soccer: Itzhaki leaves Betar to sign with KRC Genk

"I hope to do well in Europe," a tearful Itzhaki said. "It's very difficult for me to leave and I'm very emotional."

barak itzhaki 88 (photo credit:)
barak itzhaki 88
(photo credit: )
Barak Itzhaki became the fifth Israeli to join the Belgian league in the last six months on Friday, signing a three-and-a-half year deal with KRC Genk. The 23-year-old Betar Jerusalem forward will officially join Genk on Tuesday after the club met the 1 million Euro release clause in his contract. "I hope to do well in Europe," a tearful Itzhaki said. "It's very difficult for me to leave and I'm very emotional. The Belgian league will upgrade my career. The league is very aggressive, and it will make me stronger." Itzhaki will join Elyaniv Barda at Genk and will be hoping to emulate the success his fellow Israeli international has had at the club. Barda has scored eight goals in the first 17 matches of the season and is the team's top scorer. "Itzhaki is an excellent player, who will fit in at any team," Barda told Sport 5. "It took me a bit of time to settle in, but I will help him out with whatever he needs. I'm sure he's coming to Belgium for a couple of season with the hope of moving on to a bigger league and I'm sure he will succeed." Unlike Barda, Gili Vermot and Salim Toama have yet to settle at their new clubs. Vermot hasn't started a single league match at KAA Gent, while Toama has only featured occasionally in Standard Liege's lineup. Omer Golan, who signed for Sporting Lokeren a couple of weeks ago, has yet to play for the team and will join his new side on January 1. "Itzhaki is an extraordinary player and that's why I came to Israel to close the deal," Genk president Harry Lemmens said. "With Itzhaki and Barda we will score many goals, which will help us to continue to win."