Gai Assulin

Gai Assulin
גיא אסולין

Assulin with Barcelona in 2009
Personal information
Full name Gai Yigaal Assulin[1]
Date of birth (1991-04-09) 9 April 1991
Place of birth Nahariya, Israel
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Winger / Attacking midfielder
Club information
Current team
Youth career
1997–1999 Hapoel Haifa
1999–2003 Beitar Nes Tubruk
2003–2007 Barcelona
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2007–2010 Barcelona B 67 (13)
2009–2010 Barcelona 0 (0)
2010–2012 Manchester City 0 (0)
2012Brighton & Hove Albion (loan) 7 (0)
2012–2013 Racing Santander 25 (3)
2013–2014 Granada 0 (0)
2013–2014Hércules (loan) 32 (3)
2014–2015 Mallorca 6 (0)
2015–2016 Hapoel Tel Aviv 7 (0)
2016– Sabadell 7 (0)
National team
2008–2013 Israel U21 22 (0)
2008 Israel 1 (0)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 11 September 2016.

Gai Yigaal Assulin (Hebrew: גיא יגאל אסולין; born 9 April 1991) is an Israeli professional footballer who plays for Spanish club CE Sabadell FC as a winger or an attacking midfielder.

As a teenager, he was registered at Barcelona and Manchester City, but did not make a league appearance for either team. He subsequently became a journeyman, spending short spells at a variety of teams majorly in Spain and Israel and on once in England.

Assulin was capped 22 times by the Israel national under-21 football team and once in 2008 by the Israel national football team, becoming their youngest player of all time.

Early life

Born in Nahariya, Assulin started his career in the football school of Hapoel Haifa.[2] In 1999, at the age of seven, he moved to the Beitar Tubruk youth ranks. In 2003, when he was just 12, Shlomo Scharf, his team coach, proposed to Assulin's parents to consider taking their young prospect to try out for FC Barcelona, where he was accepted into the youth ranks.

Club career


In August 2007, Assulin graduated to the FC Barcelona B team,[3] and was offered a new contract, a senior contract (a contract granted only after the player turns 16) for another three years and a €20 million buy-out clause. At the end of the 2007–08 season, Barcelona B won the league title with 83 points, and the manager, Pep Guardiola, was promoted to the job of senior team manager.[4] Assulin was rumored to be one of the players that Guardiola would promote to the first team.[5]

After missing most of the 2008–09 season due to an injury, Assulin got an invitation to participate in pre-season matches with Barcelona first team.[6] He made his debut first-team start in a competitive match of the Copa del Rey against Cultural Leonesa on 28 October 2009, before being replaced by Éric Abidal after 56 minutes.[7] Due to the lengthy 2009–10 season many Barcelona players were given breaks towards the end of the year, so on 29 December 2009 Guardiola brought in Assulin, and team-mates Víctor Vázquez, Thiago Alcântara, and Jonathan dos Santos.

On 1 July 2010, Assulin and Barcelona parted ways by mutual consent.[8] They offered him a three-year contract but as they could not offer him a guaranteed first-team squad position and instead sought to develop him at Barcelona B, he refused the offer. Assulin also had a complicated relationship with the manager of Barcelona B, Luis Enrique.[9]

Manchester City

On 14 December 2010, Assulin joined Premier League club Manchester City on a two-and-a-half-year deal. He spoke of his wishes to partner his former Barcelona teammate Yaya Touré at the club.[10]

The early part of 2011 saw Assulin make his City Reserve squad debut against Newcastle United, coming on as a second-half substitute in a 5–1 win.[11][12]

On 17 November 2011, Assulin declared that he was prepared to be loaned out from Manchester City in order to receive first-team action. He had so far failed to receive a call-up from first-team manager Roberto Mancini but was too old to play in the inaugural under-19 NextGen series with the City Elite Development Squad, restricting him to playing occasionally for the Reserves. Assulin said: "I need confidence and I can only get that by playing regularly. City and I both feel that I should go out on loan so I can play every week. I could stay in England or maybe join a team in the Spanish second division".[13] Six days later, Championship side Barnsley announced that they had agreed a loan deal until 3 January 2012,[14] with their manager Keith Hill saying "I’ve always known about Gai and was very impressed when he played for the Israel Under-21s against England at Oakwell in September. He’s a little bit different to what we have already got and can unlock doors. He’s had a great up-bringing at Barcelona and Manchester City and is a talented football player who now wants to develop the next stage of his career".[15] Assulin can unlock doors, he's a creative player and a great addition to our squad. He's a very clever player and has a very good football brain. He's quick, but his pace is in his brain".[16] After fitness issues came up, Hill confirmed that "On advice from the medical staff at Man City, it's just a deal that we can't do. Common sense has prevailed. It's something we wanted to do, but we're not going to force through a signing when the player's not hundred percent fit.[17] I’m disappointed because I know what type of player he is. If the deal can be done in January [2012] it will be".[18]

On 9 February 2012, Assulin scored for the Manchester City Elite Development Squad in their 4–2 derby win over rivals Manchester United. He entered the Manchester Senior Cup tie at half-time as a substitute for Denis Suárez, and scored their 2–2 equaliser in the 65th minute and he also assisted for the fourth goal in stoppage time.[19]

Eight days later, Assulin, along with fellow City youngster Abdul Razak, joined Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion on an initial one-month loan until 19 March, but with the option to extend this by two months. Their manager Gus Poyet said: "Gai is technically very capable, and has great ability on the ball. He showed great potential as an outstanding young talent under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona – I hope he can realise some of that potential here at Brighton."[20] He described the loan move for Assulin as a "no-brainer" and a "unique opportunity."[21] Assulin made his Brighton debut on 22 February against Hull City, coming on as a substitute for Razak in the 77th minute of their 0–0 draw.[22] He made his first start against Cardiff City on 7 March and was substituted after 59 minutes of a 2–2 home draw.[23] On 19 March, after one start and three substitute appearances, Brighton exercised their option to extend Assulin's loan deal until the end of the season.[24]

Assulin was released from Manchester City on 22 May 2012, alongside Owen Hargreaves.[25]

Later career

On 11 July 2012, Assulin signed a one-year deal with recently relegated Racing Santander.[26] Six days later, he was introduced as a player in a press conference.[27] On the opening game of the season on 19 August, he made his debut in a 1–0 loss against Las Palmas; he soon scored his first goal, on 15 September, in a 3–0 win over Recreativo de Huelva, giving the club their first win of the campaign.

On 5 July 2013, Assulin signed a three-year deal with Granada CF,[28] being immediately loaned to Segunda División's Hércules CF in a season-long deal. He appeared regularly for the Valencian outfit, which were relegated after finishing dead last. In his second game, a goalless draw at CD Tenerife on 25 August, he was sent off for kicking out at Carlos Ruiz.[29]

On 15 August 2014 Assulin signed a two-year deal with RCD Mallorca, also in the second level.[30]

In October 2015, free agent Assulin trialled with Rangers of the Scottish Championship;[31] Manager Mark Warburton was not sufficiently impressed to offer him a contract.[32] After a brief spell at Hapoel Tel Aviv – his first experience of the Israeli Premier League – he went back to Spain to sign for CE Sabadell FC in the third tier on 10 August 2016.[33]

International career

Assulin was called up by the Israeli national football team for their friendly match against Chile in 2008. He debuted for Israel as a substitute in the 78th minute of the friendly, 14 days before his 17th birthday.[34] By playing in this match, he broke Ben Sahar's record for youngest national team debut by 195 days.[35] He went on to represent the Israeli under-21 national team in preparation at the 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship, hosted in the country.

Club statistics

As of 8 June 2014

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Spain La Liga Copa del Rey - Europe Total
2007–08 Barcelona B Tercera División 2210-2210
2008–09 Segunda División B 201-201
2009–10 252-252
Barcelona La Liga 0010-0010
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2010–11 Manchester City Premier League 0000000000
2011–12 0000000000
Brighton (loan) Championship 700000-70
Spain La Liga Copa del Rey - Europe Total
2012–13 Racing Santander Segunda División 263-263
2013–14 Hércules 32320-343
2014–15 Mallorca 0000-00
Total Spain 1251930 0012819
England 7000000070
Career total 1321930000013519

See also


  1. "ASSULIN (Gai Yigaal Assulin)". Football Database. Retrieved 2006. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. "מסי, מאחוריך: הכירו את כוכבי העתיד של ברצלונה". Retrieved 5 January 2011.
  3. "18-year-old Israeli wunderkind takes his debut with Barcelona in stride". Haaretz. 26 July 2009. Retrieved 30 September 2010.
  4. "Pep Guardiola pays tribute to Frank Rijkaard". 12 May 2008. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  5. גיא אסולין וברצלונה ב' זכו באליפות (in Hebrew). 18 May 2008. Retrieved 18 May 2008.
  6. "Muniesa, Thiago and Assulin to start pre-season in London". 25 June 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
  7. "Cultural Leonesa 0, Barça 2, a.k.a. "Pedrito to the rescue (again)!" – The Offside". 29 October 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
  8. "Gai Assulin released by Barcelona". Goal. 2 July 2010. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  9. "From penthouse to outhouse". Haaretz. 28 July 2010. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  10. "Israeli midfielder joins Man City after Barcelona exit". BBC Sport. 14 December 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  11. John Guidetti scores hat-trick, Gai Assulin makes debut in City EDS romp
  12. "Gai Assulin predicting big things for Manchester City". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
  13. "Assulin on the move". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
  14. "Gai Assulin to sign on loan for the Reds". Retrieved 25 November 2011.
  15. "Hill has high hopes for Assulin's Oakwell stint". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
  16. "Reds close in on Gai". The Star. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
  17. "Injury puts Assulin deal on hold". Retrieved 25 November 2011.
  18. "Why should I feel sorry for Grayson? – Hill". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
  19. "Match report Man United 2 Manchester City 4 Manchester Senior Cup 9 February 2012". Retrieved 9 February 2012.
  20. "Albion Sign Man City Duo". Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. 17 February 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
  21. "Gus: Loan deal was a no brainer". The Argus. 18 February 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  22. "Assulin pushes for wing role". The Argus. 25 February 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  23. "Brighton 2 Cardiff City 2: match report". The Telegraph. 7 March 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  24. "Assulin loan deal extended". Manchester City FC. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  25. "G-Owen: Manchester City release Owen Hargreaves and Gai Assulin". Mirror. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  26. Assulin y Longás, nuevos refuerzos para el Racing (Assulin and Longás, new signings for Racing); Racing's official website, 11 July 2012 (Spanish)
  27. "Assulin presented at Santander, President: high level player" [אסולין הוצג בסנטאנדר, הנשיא: שחקן ברמה גבוהה] (in Hebrew). 19 July 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  28. Assulin ficha por el Granada CF (Assulin signs for Granada CF); Granada's official website, 5 July 2013 (Spanish)
  29. "El Tenerife deja escapar vivo a un Hércules herido" [Tenerife let an injured Hércules get out alive] (in Spanish). Marca. 25 August 2013. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  30. Gai Assulin firma con el Mallorca (Gai Assulin signs with Mallorca); Mallorca's official website, 15 August 2014 (Spanish)
  31. "Former Manchester City and Barcelona starlet Gai Assulin training with Rangers". Daily Record. 15 October 2015. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  32. Nash, Matthew (1 November 2015). "Mark Warburton confirms Rangers will not be signing Gai Assulin". HITC. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  33. "Gai Assulin busca relanzar su carrera en el Sabadell" [Gai Assulin looks to relaunch his career at Sabadell] (in Spanish). Sport. 10 August 2016. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  34. שמרו על התואר (in Hebrew). 26 March 2008. Retrieved 18 May 2008.
  35. Sinai, Allon (26 March 2008). "Assulin to make debut against Chile". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 18 May 2008.
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