Long before becoming a star at Liverpool and Tottenham, the young Ronny Rosenthal was snapped up at the age of 11 by his hometown club Maccabi Haifa. Spotted at such a young age, he progressed through the ranks at the club until making his debut as a substitute aged 16, where he came off the bench to score two goals on his debut. The career of ‘Rocket’ Ronny Rosenthal was under way.
It wasn’t all plain sailing in the early years for Rosenthal however. Three years after his debut the coach of Maccabi Haifa at the time, Englishman Jack Mansell, didn’t rate the 19 year old and tried to release him on a free. It was only when Haifa’s president Yochanan Vollach, stepped in and vetoed the decision that Rosenthal was saved from being forced out of the club. Vollach believed in the young Israeli striker and said that the club would not sell him at any price.
A year later Vollach hired Shlomo Sharf and his change of tactics allowed Rosenthal a regular starting role in a three pronged attack that would spearhead Maccabi Haifa’s two Israeli league titles in three seasons. Rosenthal’s performances, he’d now notched 38 league goals in 138 league games, were being noted on a wider stage by the summer of 1986 Belgian side Club Bruges snapped him up for $275,000.
He won the league title with Bruges in 1988 and in the summer of that year Standard Liege snapped him up as part of a swap deal. In his two years in Liege he rediscovered his best form, scoring 24 league goals in 54 league games and attracting interest from abroad. He went on loan to Udinese and then to Luton Town, where he was spotted by scouts from Liverpool who quickly snapped him up on loan for the latter stages of the 1989-90 season.
Rosenthal’s impact at Anfield was immediate. On his debut he scored a hat-trick against Charlton Athletic and his 7 goals in 8 games were an invaluable contribution towards Liverpool’s 18th league title success. Liverpool signed the Israeli striker for £1.1m the following summer and although the rest of his time at Anfield was not as successful, he did make 97 appearances for the Reds and scored 22 goals.
However Rosenthal is probably best remembered in his time at Anfield for the following miss at Villa Park in 1992;
In January 1994, Rosenthal was snapped up by Tottenham for £250,000 and he once again scored on his league debut for the club. However Rosenthal is best remembered by Spurs fans for his incredible performance in an FA Cup tie with Southampton. 2-0 down to the Saints, Rosenthal was brought off the bench to fire an incredible hat-trick and inspire Spurs to a 6-2 win. In his three years with Tottenham, Rosenthal played 100 games, scoring 11 goals.
He finished his career with Watford, initially making a big impact with goals like this one against Blackpool;
However injuries and age took their toll and in 1999, after 35 appearances and 11 goals for Watford, Rosenthal retired from the game.
After retiring Rosenthal remained in England with his family and sons, one of whom is on the books at Watford and he has since become a “Football Consultant”. A job that Rosenthal explains as;
“I just try to give the best advice for the clubs – not only in England, but abroad. I help them find foreign players. I cannot help them with local players – they know them already – but they know less about players abroad.”
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