TAL BEN HAIM began his career with Maccabi Tel Aviv, becoming a reserve player at the age of 16 before going on to become a regular in their first team.
Maccabi won the Israeli Premier League in 2003, with Ben Haim playing a pivotal role in that success. His influence and importance to the team was demonstrated the following season when he was awarded the captain’s armband, aged just 21.
After a further campaign with Tel Aviv, Ben Haim’s talents attracted the interest of Premier League outfit Bolton Wanderers and then-Trotters boss Sam Allardyce secured the services of the tough-tackling centre-back on a three-year deal in the summer of 2004.
Ben Haim’s no-nonsense approach quickly made him a popular figure at the Reebok Stadium and his leadership skills once again came to the fore, with him captaining the side in the absence of regular skipper Jay-Jay Okocha.
After three successful years with Bolton, Ben Haim signed for Chelsea on a free transfer in 2007.
However, following the departure of Jose Mourinho and subsequent arrival at the club of Avram Grant, Ben Haim’s first-team opportunities proved limited.
After a year with Chelsea, the Israeli joined Manchester City where he stayed for two years.
Following a brief loan spell at Sunderland, and keen to play regularly, Ben Haim left the Etihad Stadium for Portsmouth’s Fratton Park prior to the start of the 2009/10 season.
In his first campaign on the south-coast, Ben Haim made 24 appearances in all competitions but his efforts could not save Pompey from relegation.
Ben Haim spent the first half of the 2010/11 season on loan at West Ham before returning to Fratton Park in January 2011. After leaving the club last August, he has been training with the R’s for several weeks under Harry Redknapp.
Ben Haim has made more than 60 appearances for his country and will wear the number 21 shirt for Rangers.