BERAM Kayal has admitted he could quit Celtic after revealing he has fallen out of love with Scottish football.
The Israeli midfielder has just over a year left on his contract and claims both Manchester United and Liverpool were close to making a move for him a few years ago when he was being touted for a £7 million move to England.
But a series of injuries and a loss of form have led to his value plunging and Kayal admits he is losing his desire to play in Scotland. In an interview in his homeland, the 25-year-old also said he is still angry with Rangers captain Lee McCulloch for causing his first injury setback.
Kayal said: “Initially, I liked this league, but after all the injuries I now no longer like it. There is a lack of technique, but football is played at a breakneck pace, with power and intensity and it doesn’t stop for a minute.
“But I’m not in love with this league. A friend of mine, Joe Ledley, was on the verge of his contract expiring and was sold to Crystal Palace. Maybe this will happen to me because football is a business at the end of the day.
“If someone comes up with an attractive proposition to Celtic and me, then I’ll go.
“In my first season at Celtic, a lot of teams came to watch me and tried to find out what my price tag was. Kenny Dalglish, who was manager of Liverpool and Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United had communications with me.
“When a lot of teams were interested, Celtic wanted too much money – like £6m or £7m. Now, because of my injuries, the price is much lower. But my dream is still alive and well. I am only 26 next month.”
Injuries have severely hampered Kayal’s career and the unlikely combination of Ibrox skipper McCulloch and AC Milan legend Kaka have both set him back.
McCulloch’s clash with him in a December 2011 Old Firm encounter which saw Kayal suffer ankle ligament damage particularly infuriated the midfielder.
Kayal said: “I have not forgotten that for a moment. I was out for a long time and even when I came back, I was not 100 per cent. He was very rude about it. I suppose it’s part of football, but I’m happy that every time I played against him since, I have beaten him.
“After a difficult time, I came back and was enjoying football like never before and I scored in the Champions League against Ajax. I felt my injury problems were behind me.
“Then we played AC Milan and in the first minute, Kaka caught me. He said sorry a few minutes later and I told him, ‘you have broken my leg’.
“I actually played on for 30 minutes, but I couldn’t change direction. That caused me to miss another three and a half months.
“After the game he asked for my forgiveness and we exchanged shirts. He didn’t do it on purpose.
“I felt like I should be wearing the Mario Balotelli shirt ‘Why Always Me?’ Every time I get injured, it seems to be another four months out. Touch wood, I am fit again now.”
But even if he does quit Scotland, Kayal has plenty of time for the Celtic fans and team-mates, even if he still can’t understand them. And he admits he misses the Old Firm clashes.
He said: “For me, the league is lacking because they are not there. I miss the derby, the noise of the fans.
“I went to see Manchester City v Barcelona and the noise in the stadium was nothing like Celtic Park. Even our Champions League nights is nothing compared to Celtic versus Rangers.
“People do not understand – it is bigger than any game against Barcelona or AC Milan. I have a great understanding with the fans, but I have been in Scotland four years and sometimes I still don’t understand them.
“My team-mates will say to me ‘are you going hame?’ when they mean home!”