Eitan Tibi is the property of Maccabi Tel Aviv

“There are things in life that are not only under your control and some of what was last season was not under my control. I try to do everything to be the best at things I have control over and I’m glad today I play and enjoy what I love to do. But what was last year is hard to forget It’s not easy, it’s engraved in my heart, and they say an injured animal is the most dangerous animal. ”He said these sentences. Eitan Tibi Somewhere in January 2020, after he returned from exile on the bench of Maccabi Tel Aviv and returned to lead its defense. More than a year has passed since then, much has changed in the world, but Tibi has not dried up again on the side.

Earlier this week the champion announced the renewal of Dan Glazer’s contract. While the fight for the championship is particularly heated and close, the team from Kiryat Shalom has a difficult task in trying to secure the future of those who serve as its stable skeleton in the team. Glazer and Dor Peretz in the link, Eitan Tibi in the defense. The latter will end his contract at the end of the season and in terms of ability not only does it seem that a decline is out of the question for him – but he has also improved in his game indices that were not there before. Tonight (Saturday, 21:00) he will face another test in the form of the big derby of Tel Aviv against Hapoel.

Van Leven speaks ahead of the derby

Standing firm: Tibi is the most stable figure in Maccabi Tel Aviv

The compliments for the last two months of Maccabi Tel Aviv, which forgot the opening of a terrible season and brought it back to first place, are rightly directed at Patrick Van Leven. The one who replaced Georgios Donis managed in a short time to save a ship just before it sank and lead it to a safe shore. The Dutchman did it thanks to the same players who have been there for success in recent years and in the moment of truth, when there was a need for a special character and winemaking, they came back. Eitan Tibi is one of them. There are only two players who were at Maccabi Tel Aviv with the arrival of Jordi Cruyff and the beginning of the dynasty and remain to this day – Sharan Yeni and Eitan Tibi. To a large extent, the two are very similar to each other. Those who stay out of the spotlight, do not often get interviewed and on social networks you will not find them documenting everything that moves. Players of yesteryear, captains in character.

Tibi probably remembers well the 2018/19 season, Vladimir Ivitch’s first in the team, a season in which a mistake in Europe in the summer led to his dehydration in the stands. These months, in which he had to sit on the sidelines for the first time since arriving at Maccabi Tel Aviv, almost caused him to leave. The player ended his contract in the summer of 2019 and seemed to have finished his part at the club but at the same time the brake did not take a foot off the gas – when he conducted personal training with Alon Hazan, who was the assistant coach of the team (recently appointed young coach). The hard work, as the cliché article puts it, pays off. In August of that year he signed the new contract for another two years and both parties benefited. In the last two years Tibi has returned to being the solid rock at the last stop of the Yellow Defense. Carlos Garcia, Sharan Yeni, Shahar Phiben, Jair Amador and now Luis Hernandez – alongside all of them he has been there in the last decade in which he has established his status as the team’s greatest asset, and also as a banker for the Israeli team.

Eitan Tibi prays (Noam Moreno)

Last year he was a major part of Maccabi Tel Aviv’s record-breaking defense, and even this year, despite the crisis at the beginning of the season, he is one of the most important factors on the pitch that brought the club back to the top. When you look at the nature of the last few years, you can also understand the answer – even when those around you did not believe, he was the one who believed in himself.

Last year

Let’s go back a bit. In May 2020, Tibi and his family experienced a personal crisis with the death of his late father Moshe. Following his mourning, Tibi was absent from three games in which he was off the roster and three more in which he sat on the bench – all in the six games that opened the top playoffs. And how symbolic was Tibi’s return to the squad – a Tel Aviv derby against Hapoel that ended with a celebration of 0: 3 yellow and securing the championship for the second year in a row. Alongside the celebrations, an equally emotional moment was recorded. In the 81st minute, Eitan Tibi was the one who doubled the result with an uncharacteristic number from close range, and immediately burst into tears as his friends surrounded him. This moment marked a difficult time for the player personally, but also professionally he left all the scars behind and since then has not looked back.

Eitan Tibi (Hagai Michaeli)Eitan Tibi (Hagai Michaeli)

Tibi Model 2020/21 also shows things he has not shown before. Beyond the familiar defensive ability, the brake goes further forward and helps the team break through defenses and sometimes even with crucial actions. He did so, for example, in a game against Beitar Jerusalem that ended in 1: 4. Tibi, with an uncharacteristic dribble, shook off the guards and sent a long ball that finally reached Sharan Yeni and from there to Itai Schechter who scored. These actions during a game were often seen during the season by Tibi, who seems to have changed his attitude – less dedication from behind, more except for Maccabi Kadima’s quick attack.

The second part of the champion’s defensive equation should also be noted. Last year it was Amador, in the current one Luis Hernandez stands out as a wonderful acquisition in the Israeli landscape. At the beginning of the season with Donis, he received criticism, but very quickly proved that he is a brake at a high level and the cooperation between the two from Seder and Maccabi Tel Aviv is quite a few points. If we are talking about Amador, it should be remembered that the Portuguese, in his first season in Kiryat Shalom, was mostly on the bench, while Shahar Phiben got the reins. So in this sector, Hernandez has priority at least in his integration into the club.

Luis Hernandez and Eitan Tibi (Radad Jabara)Luis Hernandez and Eitan Tibi (Radad Jabara)

Statistics time

There are of course things that are not recorded in the data, but a look at Tibi’s statistics, courtesy of the director of the football leagues, shows his importance in moving the ball of the Yellows. The brake stood fourth in the league in dedication (1,440) and second to Hernandez in the entire league in accurate dedication (1,342). In addition, Tibi leads among his teammates in air fights (90) and successful air fights (67), second in ball saves (163) and also in ball saves in the defensive half (145). Also, the brakeman stood first among his teammates in the brakes threatened.

Desa: “Work ethic that belongs to the high levels”, Garcia: “A true athlete”

He has played with Tibi quite a bit during his career, both at Maccabi Tel Aviv and at the back of the Israeli national team. Eli Desa. The right-back, who is doing well in Dutch football and is in a great season with Vitesse, said in a conversation with ONE about his friend “” I follow all the games “, he began. “Tibi is one of the most special people in football. I wish there was a percentage of the people in the world. A quiet, humble person and the spotlight does not speak to him or interest him. Give him his wife and children and he is whole and happy. “

Desa and Tibi from the days in yellow (Shahar Gross)Desa and Tibi from the days in yellow (Shahar Gross)

Did it surprise you that Tibi came back big and even got better?
“Anyone who was with Tibi during this period is not surprised that he returned in a big way. Outwardly it seems illogical to go back as if he had never been outside, but this person has a work ethic that belongs to the highest levels. He hired a fitness trainer, nutrition consultants and a mental trainer and worked every day like crazy, he would not utter a word. Comes first, goes last and all this while experiencing a very difficult personal and family crisis with his late father, to whom he was connected most of all, and in my eyes every child should look at them and learn what it is to pay attention to the smallest details and be consistent in what you do over the years Not a week or two. ”

The Israeli team will open a new campaign later this week with a window of three games that will be the opening shot of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in Qatar, a campaign in which Desa and Tibi will continue to be the keys to Willy Rotensteiner in the back, and the defender is convinced: ”.

Eitan Tibi in coaching the Israeli national team (Radad Jabara)Eitan Tibi in coaching the Israeli national team (Radad Jabara)

He who played alongside Tibi for three years and was part of the beginning of the Maccabi Tel Aviv dynasty in the last decade is Carlos Garcia, Who is currently with Jordi Cruyff in China. In a conversation with ONE, the Spanish stopper says: “Tibi has a high mentality and he knows how to push himself to get better in every training session and in every game. This is what helps him go through moments to know how to overcome them. He is a special player. “

Garcia continued: “Over the years he also improves concentration and he brings the experience to every game. As human beings we go through difficult moments in our lives, sometimes personal things, ending a contract, different feelings with coaches and team members and other things. When the environment changes, the player’s performance also changes, even for the greatest it happens, but a true athlete is one who knows how to rise and return to himself, and so does Eitan Tibi. A defensive player requires a lot of parameters and Eitan has everything it takes, I was happy to play alongside him because he is a true professional. “

Carlos Garcia and Eitan Tibi (Yaniv Gonen)Carlos Garcia and Eitan Tibi (Yaniv Gonen)