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Benayoun in action for Chelsea

Yossi Benayoun was officially unveiled as a Maccabi Haifa player for the second time in his career – and admitted that he never intended to return to Israel to end his career.

The 34-year-old midfielder returned to Haifa last month having spent the past 12 years in Europe, including spells at West Ham United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and QPR.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, he said: “I’m happy and excited to be here. This is the right time for me to come back to Israel and Maccabi Haifa, which is my home. So far, I have enjoyed every moment and if we continue like this and remain united we will succeed.”

However, also trying to play down fans expectations as to what the side can achieve, he said: “I’m not going to make any brash statements about us winning titles, but I do promise to give my all both on and off the pitch. I didn’t see myself returning to retire in Israel because of the experience of previous players who did so. However, I was always jealous of players who returned to their homeland to end their careers and now I have gotten my chance.”