Two famous names in Israeli football announced their retirement this weekend as Walid Badier and Nir Davidovitch bowed out with 12 championships, seven cups and 125 caps between them.
Maccabi Haifa FC goalkeeper Davidovitch, 36, ended his 535-game, one-club career with a 3-2 victory against Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC. On the losing side was 39-year-old defender Badier, who had previously been a team-mate of the goalkeeper's, helping to win four of Davidovitch's seven championships with Haifa.
Davidovitch was first promoted to the Haifa first time on an infamous day in Israeli history – 4 November 1995, when prime minister Itzahak Rabin was assassinated in Tel Aviv. By the age of 22, Davidovtich had won the first of his 51 caps, won over a 12-year spell, and in 2003 an inspired performance in a 0-0 UEFA Cup draw at Valencia CF led him to be dubbed 'The Octopus' by the Spanish media, a nickname that stuck.
"Since I woke up in this morning, I hadn't move until now," said the 36-year-old as he was presented with his gloves from the that game at the Mestalla and spoke to the local fans before the match. "This will be the last time I will jump for the ball in this stadium. I can just say to my kids that I'll have more time for them now."
Badier's senior career began in 1992 at Hapoel Petach Tikva FC. Seven years later he moved to English side Wimbledon FC, scoring his only goal away at Manchester United FC, before linking up with Davidovich at Haifa. Then in 2005, he moved on to Hapoel Tel-Aviv, adding a fifth championship to the four he won at Maccabi. His 67 games in the two competitions for his three Israeli clubs left the 74-times capped international fourth in the all-time UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League appearance rankings.
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