The big day of Lior Refaelov has come. Tonight (Wednesday) the Israeli midfielder from Antwerp will know whether he will win his long career in Belgium in the golden shoe for the first time. This is a personal title which is awarded each year in Belgium to the best player at the end of a calendar year. The announcement of the winner will take place at 10:45 PM (Israel time), and the Israeli is marked as a leading candidate to take the coveted prize, which was contested by a total of 15 footballers and the last five left – among them Raphaelov.
Also competing with him are Paul Onoacho (Club Brugge), Charles de Catalunya (Club Brugge), Simone Miniola (Club Brugge) and Rafael Holtzhauser (Birschott). Raphaelov has previously won the title of footballer of the season, in the 2014/15 season but not the official prize of the competition awarded at the end of each such calendar year, but in a poll on a Belgian website. The title of “Golden Shoe” is chosen by a sports journalist, a member of the board of the Belgian Association of Judges and also past winners of the award.
In Belgium, they dedicated a long article to Raphaelov and wrote: “Raphaelov and the golden shoe – not a love story.” The 34-year-old midfielder is in his tenth season in Belgium, has always been one of the top footballers in the league, but has never reached a place higher than eighth place. Even after his best year at Club Brugge, in 2015, where he scored 16 times and cooked another 14, he came in only 12th place. The one who did receive recognition was actually his wife, Gal Rapalov, who won the ceremony as the most beautiful footballer’s wife in January 2014.
Commentators in Belgium complimented Raphaelov ahead of the ceremony and chose him as the man most deserving of the coveted title. Peter Wandenbampt, ‘Forza’ commentator, said: “What Raphaelov achieved in 2020 is phenomenal. He was the man responsible for Antwerp’s two most imaginative games this year with goals – against Tottenham in the Europa League and in the Cup final. In the Cup final Lior put Antwerp back on the map as a club and gave She has a ticket to play in Europe. “
“Raphaelov reinvented himself as an actor in Antwerp,” Vandenbampt continued. “Last season he adapted to the special football of coach Laszlo Boulogne. Under Evan Leko, who came after him, he changed his game mentality. An established star who did things changes his game evolution at an advanced age – that’s a fantastic thing.”
Former footballer, Gert and Rhine, Raphaelov showed character after leaving Club Brugge. He makes the difference for Antwerp in big games like in the Cup final and against Tottenham and remains a great football player. For such a player you buy a ticket and come to the stadium. Even as a commentator you enjoy it. Very fun to see him Play”.
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