Swiss striker wants to play for Hap TA, convert to Judaism

Hapoel desperate to bolster its squad when January transfer window opens, especially with prospect of star Itai Shechter leaving for Europe.

October 28, 2010 00:01
1 minute read.
Hapoel Tel Aviv

Johan Vonlanthen 58. (photo credit: AP)

Hapoel Tel Aviv is awaiting the medical tests of striker Johan Vonlanthen before it decides whether to move ahead with the signing of the former Swiss international.

Vonlanthen’s dream of joining Hapoel goes far beyond an opportunity to play Champions League soccer.

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The 24-year-old, who became the youngest scorer ever in the European Championship when he equalized against France in Euro 2004, has been out of action since the end of last season with a knee injury and is hoping to start his comeback at Hapoel, while also pursuing his desire of becoming a Jew.

“I feel like I’m already a spiritual Jew,” said Vonlanthen, who is under contract at Red Bull Salzburg until the end of June. “I believe in the god of Avraham and Jacob so for me it is beautiful to be here.”

Hapoel is desperate to bolster its squad when the January transfer window opens, especially with the prospect of star striker Itai Shechter leaving for Europe.

After undergoing a medical on Wednesday, Vonlanthen will train with Hapoel in the coming days and he hopes to get the chance to restart his career in Israel.

“I like Israel. It’s really beautiful,” he said. “The important thing is the medical test and then training with the team and then we will see. I hope I will sign with Hapoel.”

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