Rodgers says Israel striker Abada could leave Celtic as pressure mounts

Rodgers says Israel striker Abada could leave Celtic as pressure mounts

© AFP 2022
February 16, 2024 at 5:58 PM
Political pressure: Celtic and Israel striker Liel Abada
Political pressure: Celtic and Israel striker Liel Abada. Photo: ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP
Source: AFP

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers says Israel international Liel Abada could leave the Scottish champions on loan following pro-Palestinian demonstrations by some of the club's fans.

Abada will sit out the Scottish Premiership match against Kilmarnock on Saturday, having also missed the game against St Mirren last week.

The 22-year-old has faced pressure in Israel because of the support for Palestinians among Celtic supporters.

Hamas carried out an unprecedented attack on October 7 that resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

At least 28,775 people, mostly women and children, have been killed in an Israeli assault on Gaza since, according to the health ministry there.

Celtic fans unfurled banners reading "Free Palestine" and "Victory to the Resistance" after the attacks on Israel.

They have continued to show their support for Palestinians since. The Green Brigade ultras group has urged supporters to join them in song ahead of the Kilmarnock match.

"I have had lots of conversations with Liel," Rodgers said Friday. "He is training, he is working away.

"But this period is all about the mind and if you're not quite right or ready, firstly I can't take any risk with him, because we will always support the player, and obviously I also have to protect the squad as well."

Rodgers added: "This is a young guy, 22 years of age, far, far away from home. People can talk about what's going on there and then they can forget about it. This is the reality for him, this is his life.

"Every single day, every night, families in a war. So it's a really, really tough situation for him. On a human level, I have real, real empathy for him."

Rodgers said he would "look after" Abada.

"When he's ready, if he ever is ready, then he will be able to give us everything," said the Celtic boss.

Asked about a loan move, he replied: "It's a possibility. But we'll see. We will work together on it."

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© AFP 2022 photo
© AFP 2022