Local Soccer: Rosso returns to Maccabi Haifa

Croatian makes controversial move back to former club after two years at Maccabi Tel Aviv.

rosso 88 (photo credit: )
rosso 88
(photo credit: )
Giovanni Rosso will make a controversial return to Maccabi Haifa next season after agreeing terms on a one-year contract with club president Ya'akov Shahar on Monday afternoon. Many Haifa fans were fiercely opposed to the re-signing of the Croatian, who angered the supporters by leaving Kiryat Eliezer for arch-rival Maccabi Tel Aviv in the summer of 2005. Just last week Haifa coach Roni Levy's car was vandalized at his home at Ramat Poleg by four fans who punctured the wheels of the jeep and sprayed graffiti reading: "Rosso will not wear green" and "Don't sign Giovanni". Levy was, however, not deterred by the attempts to scare him and finally got his way on Monday. Rosso played at Haifa for four seasons (2001-2005), guiding the team to three league titles and helping the side reach the Champions League group stage for the first time in Israeli soccer history. Rosso, who joined the team in its training camp in Austria on Monday, had two mediocre seasons at Tel Aviv and will join Haifa on a free transfer after the yellow-and-blue chose not to renew his contract. "This is more or less the squad we wanted," Levy said on Monday morning ahead the team's flight to Austria. "Of course we would like to add another defender and maybe another Israeli player, but that can wait. We will play four friendly matches in Austria and work on the tactical part of our game."