First Israeli to play in Premier League dies at 54

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JERUSALEM (AP) - Avi Cohen, a former Liverpool defender who became the first Israeli to play in England’s top league, has died. He was 54.

Cohen died Wednesday from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident last week, despite doctors having performed extensive brain surgery in an attempt to save his life.

Cohen was among the first Israeli players to sign for a major European team when he joined Liverpool in 1979. He made 24 appearances and scored one goal for the club before returning to Israel to play for Maccabi Tel Aviv. He also played for Scottish club Rangers in 1987-88, and was a longtime captain of the Israeli national team.

His son Tamir currently plays for Bolton in the English Premier League.

Cohen is survived by his wife and three children. His funeral is set for Wednesday.

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