Mizrahi, Alon 'airplane' : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Mizrahi, Alon 'airplane'

Mizrahi is considered by many soccer experts in Israel to be the greatest natural scorer in the country's history. He earned the nickname the "Airplane" in reference to his bizarre goal celebration ritual in which he mimicks one. Despite his skills, his "healthy" ego and disciplinary issues have hampered an otherwise impressive career, have kept him from playing for the Israeli National team as often as he should have. Alon is the top Israeli league scorer of all time.

One famous Alon Mizrahi story involves the victory over Parma in Italy. In the pre-match interviews other Maccabi Haifa notables such as Eyal Berkovic and Reuven Atar said Parma were too strong to beat. Mizrahi on the other hand sat in front of the mirror (this is how he likes to be interviewed) and said simply "just like the mighty Airplane takes off in Israel it will take off in Italy." And it did, Mizrahi scored the only goal in what remains one of Israeli soccer's more memorable moments.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. Nov. 22, 1971

Career Highlights:
Mizrahi was a key player in the B'nei Yehuda youth team's suprising 1989 title win, and was a contributing factor in the senior team's Israel League title the following year. He then spent the 1990-91 season on loan to Hapoel Tel Aviv before a two-year return to B'nei Yehuda. He teamed up with the deceased Nicolai Kodritzki and golden boy Haim Revivo to create one of the most exciting attacking formations in years. During this time, Mizrahi led the league in scoring in 1991-92 with 20 goals, and in 1992-93 with 26 goals in 30 games.

After his successful performance with B'nei Yehuda, Mizrahi went to Maccabi Haifa on a high-profile transfer. His addition to the club saw Haifa arguably become the strongest team in local history. In his first season with Haifa, Alon won his third consecutive scoring title with 28 goals overall (18 in the league). Despite his success during the 1993-94 season, Mizrahi decided the commute from Tel Aviv to Haifa was not worth playing for the best team in Israel, so he left for Maccabi Tel Aviv. His tenure with Maccabi was brief, however, when the notoriously strict Maccabi staff threw him out after half a season, citing his egotistical playing style.

Mizrahi was soon shipped on loan to Ashdod, who were relegated despite Mizrahi's ten goals in fourteen games. The following year (1995-96) the "Airplane" returned to Haifa and soon complained that his role was not central enough. Given his marching orders again, Alon moved to B'nei Yehuda where he enjoyed a good season, and was then brought back by Haifa yet again. In 1997-98, Mizrahi was the Israel League's top scorer for the fourth time with 18 goals in 30 games. All seemed right with Alon and his club, but things turned ugly once again.

In the European Cup Winners Cup, Haifa beat French giant Paris St. Germain on a last-second Mizrahi winning goal. The Greens had qualified for the quarterfinals of that prestigious competition, but Mizrahi would not play in that stage. In an outrageous move, Mizrahi bailed on Haifa in their time of need. Two points out of first place and on the eve of the quarterfinal, Mizrahi insisted he be released to join French Second Division club, Nice. Given his release, Haifa lost the championship and the quarterfinal, while Mizrahi failed miserably in France.

Upon his return to Israel, Mizrahi was signed by Betar Jerusalem and once again, did not get along with the staff. Packing his bags again, he set out for Hapoel Kfar Sava of the Second Division. Bagging the top scorer award with Kfar Sava, he guaranteed their promotion. He looked sharp upfront and shared a successful partnership with striker Yaniv Abargil.

Mizrahi played for Hapoel Kfar Sava in the 2002-03 season. The Greens had a great offense but were let down by abysmal defending and were relegated at the season's end. Alon finished with 14 goals and 4 assists. He then announced that he would not remain with Kfar Sava in the second division as he continues his lifelong pursuit of the all-time scoring record.

Mizrahi signed for Arab-Israeli club AH'I Nazareth, just in time for the start of the 2003-04 season but soon moved to Hapoel Ber-Sheva. He scored one goal for Nazareth in 7 appearances. The striker looked very sharp after his move to Ber-Sheva, as he scored 8 league goals. Mizrahi will fight for a starting berth on the Hapoel team in 2003-04.

Tel Aviv, Israel


Career Statistics:
15 goals in European competition (Israeli record)

198 goals in 353 games in Israeli top league action. (all time leader).

38 caps/ 17 goals

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