"Rocket Ronny" Turns 60

The Israeli who won the best league in the world turns 60

Ronny Rosenthal, who was born on October 4, 1963, in Haifa, was one of the significant factors in Liverpool's championship, but also recorded a huge miss that was crowned: "as the worst in history"

Ronny Rosenthal (Photo: Moshe Shai, Flash90.)

The term "Rosenthal" in Great Britain is used as an expression for big misses, from favorable situations. It was named after the Israeli player who kicked the crossbar after passing the goalkeeper and was facing an empty goal, a few meters away. But apart from missing Ronny Rosenthal who celebrates his 60th birthday today, he is one of the greatest players in the history of Israeli football.

Ronny Rosenthal was born on October 4, 1963, in Haifa, and started playing in the youth department of the growing club at that time, Maccabi Haifa, in 1979 he went up to the seniors of the Greens who were then in the second league. Already in his first game in the team, he scored a double against Hapoel Kiryat Shmona. In 1982, under coach Jack Mansell, he was not appreciated when Mansell tried to transfer him to another team. The transfer failed thanks to Yochanan Vollach from the club's management, who prevented the transfer.

In 1983, Shlomo Scharf was appointed coach of the team, he appreciated the young player and gave him a significant role in the team that won the first two championships in its history, when he sometimes played as a left winger and sometimes as a striker. The success in Maccabi Haifa attracted the attention of the Belgian luxury Club Brugge KV. As in Maccabi Haifa, also in the first game with the new team, he scored a goal which was the first in the game, in addition, he squeezed a penalty and won applause from the crowd.

I was moved to hear thousands shouting: "Ronny Rosenthal"

At the end of the game, Ronnie Rosenthal told the Israeli media: "They cheered us on enthusiastically, it moved me to hear thousands in the audience shouting "Ronny, Ronny" or "Rosenthal, Rosenthal". Rosenthal played in the Brugge uniform for two years and won one championship. Before moving to Standard de Liège, another Belgian luxury club, where he also played for two years.

On December 19, 1984, he was called up to the Israel national team for the first time for a match against Luxembourg, he played 60 games in the national team and scored 11 goals. He was a part of the elimination in the 1990 World Cup qualifiers playoff against Colombia, and the huge 2:3 victory over France in the 1994 World Cup qualifiers, he assisted all three goals including Reuven Atar's winning goal, which made Meir Einstein lose his temper.

Reuven Atar in Maccabi Haifa's uniform, Ronny Rosenthal gave him the pass for the winning goal against France (Photo: Moshe Shai, Flash90.)

In 1990 he moved on loan to Liverpool, which was at the height of its glory, with four European championships and nine English championships in the previous 13 years, but was removed from Europe along with all the English teams, following the Heysel Stadium disaster. He was a substitute in the championship in the 1989/1990 season, which was the club's last championship in the following 29 years.

The club's official website states that he will always be remembered by the team's fans as a player who always gave his hundred percent for the team, even when he came on as a substitute for a few minutes. The coach of the team in those years, Kenny Dalglish, said that the seven goals that Rosenthal scored that season were a significant part of what gave Liverpool the momentum for the championship.

A terrible miss that entered the Pantheon

After the successful start, Rosenthal was acquired by Liverpool and played in the team for four years for which he scored 21 goals, although he played mainly as a substitute. In September 1992 during Liverpool's game against Aston Villa, he received a great ball from his goalkeeper, passed the rival goalkeeper, and faced an empty goal but kicked the crossbar, and the ball was cleared by an Aston Villa player, since then, in Britain's, big misses are called "doing Rosenthal".

In 2010, the miss was chosen as "the worst miss in the history of world football", in a survey conducted by the "Guardian" newspaper. In 1994, as mentioned, he left Liverpool and signed with Tottenham Hotspur, 30 years before Manor Solomon where, after three unsuccessful years, he moved to Watford in the third division, and after elevating them to the second division, he was joined by Alon Hazan, the coach of the national team today, and together they promoted the team to the Premier League. Two years after signing with Watford, Ronny Rosenthal retired in 1999 and became a businessman and player agent.

Roni Rosenthal in the uniform of the Israeli national team (Photo: Zvika Israel, GPO.)

He scored a total of 131 goals in his career, and played in three teams in the Premier League, and entered the Israeli Football Hall of Fame. There were not only big misses, but also mesmerizing goals, in 1994 he scored a goal in the Israeli national team's uniform against the Azerbaijan team, after receiving a ball about eighty meters from the goal, and ran along the entire field, bypassing the entire defense, until he stuck the ball into the net. The goal was chosen as 'The Goal of the Millennium' of Israeli football.

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