Nir Klinger

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Nir Klinger
ניר קלינגר
Personal information
Date of birth (1966-05-25) 25 May 1966 (age 49)
Place of birth Haifa, Israel
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current team
F.C. Ashdod (Manager)
Youth career
1977–1984 Maccabi Haifa
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1984–1990 Maccabi Haifa 136 (16)
1990–1998 Maccabi Tel Aviv 220 (26)
National team
1987–1997 Israel 83 (2)
Teams managed
2000–2002 Beitar Be'er Sheva
2002–2005 Maccabi Tel Aviv
2006–2007 Enosis Neon Paralimni
2007–2008 AEK Larnaca
2008–2009 AEP Paphos
2009 AEL Limassol
2009–2010 Nea Salamina
2010–2011 Hapoel Be'er Sheva
2012 Enosis Neon Paralimni
2012-2013 Hapoel Haifa
2013- FC Ashdod
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 11:19, 6 November 2008 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 11:19, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

Nir Klinger (Hebrew: ניר קלינגר‎; born 25 May 1966) is an Israeli former footballer and currently the manager of Hapoel Haifa. He was manager of Maccabi Tel Aviv, before resigning under pressure on 5 December 2005. Klinger achieved with Maccabi the Israeli championship and two Israel state cups.

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.

Playing career[edit]

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 he moved 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.


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

Managerial career[edit]

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.

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]


As player[edit]

As manager[edit]


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