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Nir Klinger (Hebrew: ניר קלינגר‎‎; born 25 May 1966) is an Israeli former footballer, manager and currently the general manager of Hapoel Haifa. During the 1990s, Klinger served as Captain for Maccabi Tel Aviv and the Israel national football team.

He was the manager of Maccabi Tel Aviv for three seasons, before resigning under pressure on 5 December 2005. As manager of Maccabi, Klinger won the Israeli championship and an Israeli state cup.

Playing career

A product of the Maccabi Haifa youth team, he was a defensive player. He made his league debut for Maccabi on 3 November 1984 against Hakoah Ramat Gan, when he came on as a substitute in the 80th minute.

He spent six seasons with Maccabi Haifa before moving to Maccabi Tel Aviv for eight seasons. He won two Israeli championships with Maccabi Haifa and three championships and another two Israel State Cup with Maccabi Tel Aviv.

He retired due to injury during the 1997–98 season.

International

Klinger made his debut for Israel on 18 February 1987 in a 1–1 draw with Northern Ireland. He scored his first goal against Wales in a 3–3 draw on 8 February 1989. His last appearance was on 31 March 1997 in a 3–0 win over Luxembourg.

In total, Klinger played 83 caps for the Israel national football team between 1987 and 1997, and captained the team from August 1992 until March 1997.

Managerial career

In 1998 Klinger was appointed assistant to Avram Grant at Maccabi Tel Aviv. In 2000 he became manager of second division Beitar Be'er Sheva, leading them to third place (their highest ever position).

In 2002 he left the club to return to Maccabi as manager. In his first season Maccabi won the title. They finished runners-up the following year, and won the State Cup in 2004–05. On 5 December 2005 he resigned as manager.

Klinger led Maccabi Tel Aviv to UEFA Champions League Groups 2004–05 season. The manager and the team beat HJK Helsinki and PAOK Thessaloniki in the qualifying rounds. Maccabi played against former European champions: Juventus, Ajax Amsterdam and Bayern Munchen. Maccabi managed to get one victory over Ajax Amsterdam 2–1 and held Juventus into a draw, 1–1.

In 2006 he was appointed manager of Cypriot club Enosis Neon Paralimni, but resigned in September 2007. Soon afterward, he was appointed manager of AEK Larnaca, but was fired in October 2008 after poor start of the season. He finished with Paralimni and Aek in the 4–5 place in the Cypriot premier league. In the 2008–09 season he was appointed manager of newly promoted AEP Paphos and under his management the team was able to avoid relegation. On 24 May 2009 Klinger signed a three-year contract with AEL Limassol.

While managing AEL Limassol, a crucial derby match against Anorthosis Famagusta fell on the Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur. Klinger, who defines himself as a faithful Jew, advised the club's management of the importance of the holiday and that he would miss the match along with his assistant, Felix Naim, who was also Jewish.[1] The club tried to have the match moved to accommodate them.[2]

On 23 May 2012, Klinger was appointed the manager of Hapoel Haifa.,[3] and has brought the team to a 9th Place Finish.

On 19 May 2013, Kilinger was appointed the manager of F.C. Ashdod. He was sacked following the 2014\2015 season, after the team was relegated to the 2nd tier Liga Leumit.

On 15 November 2015, Kilinger was appointed the general manager of Maccabi Sha'arayim, a club from Liga Alef (third tier), he signed a contract for three years.[4] On 22 November 2016, he was appointed as the manager of the club while Salim Tuama got the job as his assistant.[5] On 6 December 2016, Klinger decided to leave Sha'arayim, and became the general manager of Hapoel Haifa[6]

Honours

As player

As manager

References

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Avi Cohen
Israel national football team captain
1988–1994
Succeeded by
Amir Schelach