Who knew that Chinese soccer could be so lucrative?
Eran Zahavi, the former star of Maccabi Tel Aviv, just extended his contract with the Chinese team Guangzhou R&F for three more years, in a contact worth at least $10 million per season.
That makes him the highest-paid Israeli sports professional ever.
By comparison, Israeli NBA player Omri Casspi earns a base salary of $2,106,470 from the Golden State Warriors.
Zahavi, 30, joined Guangzhou in June 2016 for an estimated $12.5 million over 30 months, in addition to a $20,000 bonus for each goal scored. Maccabi Tel Aviv received $8 million for Zahavi, reportedly the most lucrative transfer ever involving an Israeli sports club.
Since then, Zahavi has become the Chinese club’s top scorer. Last season he scored 27 goals, although R&F finished in fifth place overall.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Zahavi will continue to receive a $20,000 bonus for every goal he scores, a $1 million bonus if he is the league’s top scorer or if the team wins the league championship, and $500,000 if R&F qualifies for the Asian Champions League.
Zahavi was named the Israeli Footballer of the Year in 2013 and 2014, having scored a record 29 goals in the Israeli Premier League. During the 2015–16 season, he achieved an all-time league record of 35 goals.