Israeli champions Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC have released midfield players Avi Nimni and Tal Banin for disciplinary reasons, a week after being eliminated from the UEFA Champions League.
Club captain Nimni and Israeli international captain Banin have been told they are free to find other clubs. Maccabi coach Nir Klinger revealed the decision was made in a bid to restore team harmony following the second qualifying round defeat by Slovakian side MŠK Žilina.
Klinger said: "They are both major powers in Israeli football who have been pulling in opposite directions. As far as I am concerned, and I have the backing of the [Maccabi] owner in this, their part in this club is over. They are free to negotiate with other clubs."
Nimni has two years left on his contract while Banin has 12 months remaining. Nimni, who made his Maccabi debut in 1989/90 and has won four league titles and four Israeli Cups with the club, also played for Club Atlético de Madrid and Derby County FC. The 31-year-old Israeli international has yet to reveal his plans but has indicated a desire to see out his contract.
Banin, who began his career at Hapoel Haifa FC before moving to Maccabi Haifa FC, joined the Tel Avivians in summer 2000 after three years with Brescia Calcio. The 32-year-old, who took over from Klinger as national team captain, said: "I just heard the news and there isn't much to say except that I was not surprised. We will see what happens in the next few days."
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.