(Israel), Southampton (England), West Ham (England), Celtic
Glasgow (England), Blackburn Rovers (England), Manchester City (England),
Portsmouth (England), Manchester City (England), Portsmouth (England)
Eyal Berkovich (also spelled Berkovic, born April 2, 1972 in
Haifa) is an Israeli football (soccer) player. He plays as a
midfielder. He is currently without a club, having left
Portsmouth F.C. to end his career in Israel.
As a football player, Berkovich is considered both as a real pro
(with true sportsman attitude towards the game) and a football
genius, who improves all the players around him and breaks
opponents' defences with his masterpiece passes. Although he is
not a scorer, he knows when to score cruical goals, some of them
are very spectacular. He is hailed by many for his game
intelligence and his cunning way of avoiding tackles and fouls
from his defenders. He is considered to be one of the best
Israeli football players. For is amazing assists he is known in
Israel by the nickname Ha-Kosem (lit. "The Wizard").
As well as his footballing talent, Berkovich is well known for
his hot temprament. He has had several clashes with team mates,
most notably with Israeli footballers Reuven Atar and Eli Ohana,
and Welsh striker John Hartson. His autobiography "Ha-Kosem"
sparked controversy in the Israeli football scene because of the
sharp and straight criticism of many of its figures.
Berkovich began his career at Maccabi Haifa in 1989, playing
there until 1996. During his time at the club he won the cup and
league several times, including a 'double' in the 1990/91 season.
His impressive performances for the club earned him a call up to
the Israel national football team as well the MVP award for
For the 1996/97 season, Berkovich was signed by English club
Southampton F.C., proving to be a big influence, being a major
part of the famous 6-3 victory over Manchester United F.C.. The
next season he was signed by West Ham United F.C., for whom he
played for two seasons before Scottish club Glasgow Celtic F.C.
signed him for $10 million (£6.5million). He played for Celtic
for only two years before returning to England to join Blackburn
Rovers F.C. on loan for the 2001/02 season. Again he remained
only a short while before earning a permanent move to Manchester
City F.C. the following year.
Despite becoming a firm favourite with the fans, a fallout with
manager Kevin Keegan saw him transferred to Portsmouth F.C. for
the 2003/04 season. He soon established himself in the first
team at Pompey, being a vital part of their drive for Premier
However, he failed to hold down a regular starting place in the
team for the 2004/05 season, and in January 2005 left Portsmouth
to return to Israel.
Berkovich is also a regular in the Israel national squad,
playing 77 times and scoring 9 goals. He is married and has two