Ne­tanya gam­ble on Mattheus

The Jewish Chronicle - - SPORT - BY SI­MON GRIVER

WORLD Cup win­ner Lothar Mattheus has signed a two-year deal to man­age Mac­cabi Ne­tanya. But while the for­mer Bay­ern Mu­nich libero had a leg­endary play­ing ca­reer — win­ning 150 caps and cap­tain­ing Ger­many’s 1990 World Cup win­ning team — his man­age­rial track record sug­gests Ne­tanya’s Ger­man owner Daniel Jam­mer may be mak­ing a mis­take.

Mattheus, 47, has failed as man­ager of Hun­gary, Brazil­ian side Atletico Paranaense, Rapid Vi­enna and, most re­cently, Red Bull Salzburg al­though he en­joyed suc­cess when he won the Ser­bian league ti­tle with Par­ti­zan Bel­grade in 2003. With Mattheus earn­ing $1 mil­lion a year, five times the salary of in­cum­bent man­ager Reuven Atar, who took the team to a sec­ond place fin­ish last year and is in line for the run­ner­sup po­si­tion this sea­son, it could also be an ex­pen­sive er­ror by Jam­mer.

“I’ve been to Is­rael many times be­fore,” said Mattheus. “And I’ve been im­pressed by the videos I’ve seen of Ne­tanya. I’d like to sign three or four top for­eign play­ers to make the team even bet­ter. I’ll be ar­riv­ing in Is­rael in June and in­tend on be­com­ing a real Is­raeli.”

There may be more to this last state­ment than just talk. Three times di­vorced Mattheus will re­port­edly be rent­ing a home in Her­zliya with his 23-year-old girl friend Lil­iana who has a Jewish grand­mother and is en­ti­tled to Is­raeli cit­i­zen­ship.

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