Int'l Soccer: Barcelona's Gai Assulin gets 1st Israel call-up

Assulin is on course to make international debut before even celebrating 17th birthday in next week's friendly against Chile.

gai assulinj 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
gai assulinj 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Gai Assulin is on course to make his international debut before he even celebrates his 17th birthday after Israel coach Dror Kashtan named him in his 19-man squad for next week's friendly against Chile. Assulin, who left Israel for the Barcelona youth team four years ago, graduated to Barcelona's B team this summer and made his first team debut last September in the semi-final of the Copa Catalunya against Girona FC. There had been some concern at the Israel Football Association that the young prodigy might be considering to play for the Spanish national team as he's in the process of getting a Spanish citizenship. A debut at Ramat Gan next Wednesday, however, will ensure Assulin can only play for Israel and will end any speculation on his international future. Maor Buzaglo and Ben Sahar were left out of the senior squad and will be part of the under 21 national team, which hosts Moldova in a Euro 2009 qualifier also next Wednesday. Full squad: Goalkeepers: Dudu Awat (Deportivo La Coruna), Nir Davidovitch (Maccabi Haifa) Defenders: Tal Ben-Haim (Chelsea), Shimon Gershon, Tomer Ben-Yosef, Yoav Ziv (Betar Jerusalem), Avi Strul, Dedi Ben-Dayan, Klemi Saban (Maccabi Netanya) Midfielders: Yossi Benayoun (Liverpool), Gal Alberman, Aviram Bruchian (Betar Jerusalem), Tamir Cohen (Bolton), Moshe Ohayon (Ashdod SC), Gai Assulin (Barcelona B) Forwards: Barak Itzhaki, Elyaniv Barda (Genk), Omer Golan (Lokeren), Amit Ben-Shushan (Betar Jerusalem).