Benado is a reliable defender with an impressive history and is considered one of the best players in Israel. His man-marking skills are unparalleled on the local scene, and unfortunately, there is no heir apparent to his throne. A permament fixture on the Israeli National team, he has 75 caps.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. Dec. 5, 1973
Benado's father was also a Maccabi Haifa player, so it was natural that the talented player would find his own way onto the team. Arik played for the various youth teams and made a name for himself early on. Given his first shot in the senior team at age seventeen by coach Shlomo Scharf, Benado played for the great 1993-94 green side that won the "double" in spectacular fashion. Due more to personal differences than to professional ones, Benado was relegated to the bench during his third season at the club and requested a transfer.
Benado was granted a loan to Betar Jerusalem where he spent two excellent years, winning a championship and firmly establishing himself as a top-class defender. Upon his return to Haifa, he won over the opening berth in central defense for good. Maccabi Haifa beat Hapoel Jerusalem for the 1998 cup with Arik in the starting lineup. He captained the club when they reached the quarter finals of the 1999 European Cup Winners Cup and also captained the side through two straight championships in the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons.
In 2002-03, Benado faced a unique challenge as Maccabi became the first ever Israeli team to qualify for the UEFA Champions League. In Haifa's first three games, they gathered three points, in a famous 3-0 win over Olympiakos. In their other games in the group stage, they lost to Manchester United, 5-2, and Bayer Leverkusen, 2-0. They would lose to Bayer again before beating Manchester United 3-0 in brilliant fashion. However, Haifa did not qualify for the next Champions League round. Maccabi tied Olympiakos 3-3 and faced AEK Athens in the UEFA Cup but were knocked out by the Greeks.
Benado was solid as a rock for Maccabi Haifa in the 2003-04 season. He marshaled the strong "green" defense as they concede a mere 25 goals in the league. Arik scored one goal as Maccabi Haifa regained the title by a wide margin.