Liel Abada – the next Israeli star by Ron Dor
Maccabi Petah Tikva is a well-known club in Israel, mainly due to its amazing youth system which provides great footballers every year. In January 2019, Petah Tikva sold its young star, Manor Solomon, to the Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk. Since then, Manor’s been starring for Shakhtar and you’ve probably noticed his performances against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League. Meanwhile, Maccabi has kept producing its next big star, who has recently moved to Celtic – Liel Abada.
Liel was born on 10/03/2001 (19-year-old) and began playing football at Hapoel Petah Tikva when he was 5 years old. In 2014, he decided to move to the local rival, Maccabi Petah Tikva. Throughout the years, he has proven himself as the biggest talent of the youth academy, together with Manor Solomon. At 18, he led the U20 team to winning the Israeli U20 Premier League. In that memorable campaign, he scored 12 goals and finished as the 5 th top goalscorer in the league, as well as the top goalscorer of his own team.
The following season, he became the star of the first team as he led it back to Israel’s first division grabbing 8 goals and providing 4 assists. Because of his great performances, he was chosen as the discovery of the season. in 2020/21, Abada scored 12 goals and finished as the 2 nd top goalscorer, which is a tremendous achievement as it was his first season in the top league of Israel.
4 years, 3 months and 23 days have passed since he had his U16 debut for Israel until having his debut for the senior national team. During that time, he’s been a member of all Israel’s youth national teams.
Style of play & strengths
Liel likes getting the ball in the right-wing, using his great dribbling to cut inside and have a shot. In most cases, his shots will be straight and accurate to a specific point, indicating that he prefers accuracy rather than power. In some ways, he reminds me of Ferran Torres.
At first glance, it’s easy to notice that the 19-year-old gem is a dangerous attacking machine with unbelievable self-confidence, even for veteran players. As for his passion and his belief, he doesn’t fear to run with the ball all the way to a comfortable 1v1 situation. The fact that he’s provided better passes in the first division rather than the second, proves that he just keeps improving every single day. In contrast to modern right-wingers who are better with their left foot, Abada is a right-winger with a strong right foot, something that tends to confuse the goalkeeper facing him.
In addition to his great finishing, he also has excellent vision, very good ball control, astonishing dribbling, and versatility, as he can also play as a centre-forward and as a left-winger. As a result, the young talent becomes an unpredictable attacking weapon, and every moment of watching him becomes a joy to watch because it always feels like something special is going to happen.
With an xG of 6.5, you can’t ignore the fact that Liel is very effective, as the difference between the number of goals to the expected goals, excluding penalties, stands at 5.5, no one in the league was even remotely close to this stat. Furthermore, an interesting fact is that most of his shots come from outside the box, highlighting his fearlessness.
Abada is good in many aspects, but I think he should work on his physicality. At only 1.68m, his heading isn’t very good and he also loses in most aerial duels. That’s why he tries to avoid them and controls the ball with his feet instead. Moreover, he doesn’t contribute enough to the defensive effort as he’s poor in ground duels too. It seems that he relies too much on his pace and dribbling, but I believe he can change it at Celtic.
Looking at the present & predicting the future
On 07/20/2021, Liel Abada fulfilled his dream when he signed for the Scottish top club, Celtic, for 4 million euros and got the exclusive number 11 jersey. During his first interview at his new club, he said: “When I was told that Celtic’s interested in me, I agreed immediately. It’s a dream come true.” 6 days later, he scored on his debut in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League second round qualifying match against Danish side FC Midtjylland. Personally, I expect him to continue fulfilling the Israeli player’s European dream and to lead his national team’s attacking trio in the future next to his old friend Manor Solomon.
Currently, I rate his potential at 8/10.