Assulin with Barcelona in 2009
|Full name||Gai Yigaal Assulin|
|Date of birth||9 April 1991|
|Place of birth||Nahariya, Israel|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Playing position||Winger / Attacking midfielder|
|1999–2003||Beitar Nes Tubruk|
|2012||→ Brighton & Hove Albion (loan)||7||(0)|
|2013–2014||→ Hércules (loan)||32||(3)|
|2015–2016||Hapoel Tel Aviv||7||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 13 February 2018
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.
Born in Nahariya, Assulin started his career in the football school of Hapoel Haifa. In 1999, at age 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.
In August 2007, Assulin graduated to the FC Barcelona B team, 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. Assulin was rumored to be one of the players that Guardiola would promote to the first team.
After missing most of the 2008–09 season due to injury, Assulin received an invitation to participate in pre-season matches with the Barcelona first team. 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. 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 his teammates Víctor Vázquez, Thiago and Jonathan dos Santos.
On 1 July 2010, Assulin and Barcelona parted ways by mutual consent. 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.
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". Six days later, Championship side Barnsley announced that they had agreed a loan deal until 3 January 2012, 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." 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". 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. I’m disappointed because I know what type of player he is. If the deal can be done in January  it will be".
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.
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." He described the loan move for Assulin as a "no-brainer" and a "unique opportunity." 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. He made his first start against Cardiff City on 7 March and was substituted after 59 minutes of a 2–2 home draw. 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.
On 11 July 2012, Assulin signed a one-year deal with recently relegated Racing de Santander. Six days later, he was introduced as a player in a press conference. 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, 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.
In October 2015, free agent Assulin trialled with Rangers of the Scottish Championship; Manager Mark Warburton was not sufficiently impressed to offer him a contract. 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.. He departed the catalan club in January 2018 after his contract was terminated by mutual consent.
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. By playing in this match, he broke Ben Sahar's record for youngest national team debut by 195 days. 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.
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||22||10||–||–||-||22||10|
|2008–09||Segunda División B||20||1||–||–||-||20||1|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|2010–11||Manchester City||Premier League||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Spain||La Liga||Copa del Rey||-||Europe||Total|
|2012–13||Racing Santander||Segunda División||26||3||–||–||-||26||3|
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- Assulin y Longás, nuevos refuerzos para el Racing (Assulin and Longás, new signings for Racing); Racing's official website, 11 July 2012 (in Spanish)
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- Assulin ficha por el Granada CF (Assulin signs for Granada CF) Archived 19 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine.; Granada's official website, 5 July 2013 (in Spanish)
- "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.
- Gai Assulin firma con el Mallorca (Gai Assulin signs with Mallorca) Archived 19 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine.; Mallorca's official website, 15 August 2014 (in Spanish)
- "Former Manchester City and Barcelona starlet Gai Assulin training with Rangers". Daily Record. 15 October 2015. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
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- "Gai Assulin es desvincula" [Gai Assulin departs] (in Catalan). CE Sabadell. 30 January 2018. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
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