Shpigel, Giora : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Shpigel, Giora

Arguably the greatest Israeli soccer player of all time, Shpigel lived and breathed the playmaker spot, and was always involved in every attacking move. He had a fabulous career with the National team and played in the 1968 Olympics, 1970 World Cup, and was selected for the all-Asian squad. A great -- but controversial -- coach, Shpigel may someday take over the Israeli National Team.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. July 27, 1947

Career Highlights:
In the late 1960s, Maccabi Tel Aviv, the dominant Israeli club, which had not won the title since 1958, was struggling to find new blood. In 1968, Jerry Bet Ha'levi brought in a young Shpigel. In his first season, Giora helped the club win the Israel League title, and became supreme leader of Maccabi on the pitch. Along with Haim Levin and Zvi Rosen, he formed the nucleus of a side that would achieve great things domestically and internationally.

In 1969, Maccabi won the Asian Cup for the first time. Journalists all over the continent were impressed by Shpigel's talent, and he was elected "Player of the Tournament." In 1970, Shpigel's Maccabi won the "double" (both the Israel League and State Cup) with aplomb. The following year, Shpigel starred in another Asian Cup triumph. 1971-72 saw another championship for the coastal city, but Shpigel wanted to move on and was interested in exploring the possibilities that Europe had to offer him.

Maccabi did all they could to prevent Shpigel's departure but following a lengthy strike on his part, they were forced to release him to the French side, Strasbourg. Spiegel enjoyed five successful years with Strasbourg, then played for Lyon in France before returning to Maccabi in 1979. Giora helped revive the ailing club's fortunes and starred in a memorable championship competition. He then played out two more years with Hakoah Ramat Gan and Betar Tel Aviv respectively before retiring.

As a coach, Shpigel was unable to achieve a success with Maccabi but won the championship with underdogs B'nei Yehuda, thus guaranteeing his status as one of Israel's leading coaches. In the early 1990s, he helmed one of the greatest Israeli sides ever with Maccabi Haifa. They won a league championship and reached the European Cup Winners Cup quarterfinals. His legacy includes nurturing the precocious talents of Eyal Berkovic and Haim Revivo .



Career Statistics:
101 goals in 289 Israeli league appearances

18 goals in 44 international appearances

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