Diaa Sabia has become the first Israeli footballer to take part in an Arab championship after signing for two seasons with Dubai's Al-Nasr Club in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
After the normalisation of diplomatic relations between the Emirates and Israel, this understanding has also reached the world of football. "Welcome Wise Day to the Blue Citadel," wrote the Emirati club on Twitter social network to announce the signing of the 28-year-old midfielder from Chinese club Guangzhou.
In an official statement, Al-Nasr confirmed the transfer, estimated at three million dollars (2.5 million euros). The regularisation of relations between the Emirates and Israel took shape in black and white with the signing of the agreement at the White House by both parties under the mediation of the United States, and this milestone is opening up the field in practice to other very diverse areas. This scenario confirmed the arrival of Diaa Sabia in Emirati football as a great pioneer of Jewish football in Arab territory.
Of Palestinian origin, Diaa Sabia was born in the Arab city of Majd al-Krum in northern Israel. He played in the youth teams of the Beitar Nes Tubruk club before joining Maccabi Tel-Aviv in 2012. He then transferred to various clubs, including Hapoel Beer-Sheva, Bnei Sakhnin and Maccabi Petah Tikva before signing with Maccabi Netanya in 2014 for 2.5 million euros. He scored 50 goals in 111 matches in various competitions, including 24 goals in the 2018 season, before being selected by the Israeli national team.
He suffered a serious injury to his left leg, but continued to play for Hapoel Beer-Sheva for three months before being offered a contract by China's Guangzhou, from where he finally landed in the Emirates competition to become the first Israeli player to play in an official Arab football competition.