Tal Ben Haim, born 31st March 1982, began his career in his homeland of Israel with Maccabi Tel Aviv. His league debut came on 30th April 2001 when he came on in the 90th minute as a substitute in the Tel Aviv derby match against Hapoel. He played a significant part in Maccabi's Israeli Premier League title in the 2002/2003 season, and was appointed club captain the following season, replacing Gadi Brumer who retired in mid-season.
After making 85 appearances in the league for Maccabi, Ben Haim moved to English side Bolton Wanderers in the Summer of 2004 for a fee of around £150,000.
Ben Haim made his Wanderers debut in a 4-1 win against Charlton Athletic on the opening day of the 2004/2005 season, coming on as a substitute for Nicky Hunt in the 85th minute.
Despite taking a while to acclimatise to the English game, Ben Haim became an integral part of Wanderers' defence. In his debut season, Ben Haim made 27 appearances in all competitions as Bolton reached the Quarter-Finals of the FA Cup, losing to eventual winners Arsenal 1-0 at the Reebok. Bolton also finished 6th in the Premier League, which meant qualifying for European football for the first time in the club's history. Ben Haim also scored his only Bolton goal that season in a 3-1 win against Tottenham Hotspur at the Reebok in January 2005.
During Ben Haim's time at Bolton, the Wanderers were spoilt for choice at centre half, with Ben Haim, Radhi Jaidi, Abdoulaye Faye and Bruno N'Gotty on the books. It's unbelievable how long ago that time feels.
Anyway, Ben Haim went from strength to strength in a Bolton shirt. The Israeli defender made 47 appearances in the 2005/2006 season as the club embarked on their first UEFA Cup campaign. Ben Haim played seven times for Bolton in Europe, which included a stint as captain in a 1-1 draw away at Turkish side Besiktas. Ben Haim also unfortunately scored the own goal that put Wanderers out of Europe at the hands of Olympique Marseille.
Ben Haim's impressive defensive displays had attracted the attention of other clubs such as Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. And it was Chelsea who had a £2 million bid rejected by Bolton in January 2007.
In the Summer of 2007, after helping Bolton qualify for Europe again after finishing 7th in the 2006/2007 season, Ben Haim left the Reebok on a free transfer. In three years with Bolton, Ben Haim scored once in 110 games.
Despite Big Sam's best efforts to try and tempt Ben Haim to Newcastle United, Ben Haim signed for Chelsea. Upon the move to Stamford Bridge, Ben Haim stated: "I am very happy to join one of the greatest clubs in the world. I needed a new challenge. I will play in any position Jose Mourinho wants me to play. I am looking forward to starting the new season with Champions League football."
Ben Haim made his competitive début for Chelsea in the defeat against Manchester United in the FA Community Shield. With injuries to fellow Chelsea defenders John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho, Ben Haim became a regular in the Chelsea first team. However, after the recovery of first team pairing Terry and Carvalho and the impressive form of Alex, Ben Haim found himself to be the fourth choice centre back.
After only playing 23 times in one season with Chelsea, Ben Haim joined Manchester City in the Summer of 2008 for a fee of £5 million.
Ben Haim made his City debut in second leg of the UEFA Cup qualifier against EB/Streymur at Barnsley's Oakwell Stadium on 31st July where City won 2-0.
Ben Haim failed to break into the first team during his time at City, and subsequently joined fellow Premier League side Sunderland on loan in January 2009. However, he also failed to break into Sunderland's team, making only 5 appearances.
In 2009, Ben Haim signed for Portsmouth FC. Ben Haim made his made debut against Bolton in a 3-2 defeat at Fratton Park, and went on to play 24 times for Portsmouth in the 2009/2010 season. Due to several high earners and rising debts, Portsmouth went into administration, and were eventually relegated from the Premier League. Ben Haim's contract was heavily criticised in 2012 by administrator Trevor Birch because he was offered £36,000-a-week over four years, shortly before the club first went into liquidation.
Ben Haim moved to West Ham United on loan for the 2010/2011 season, but only made 12 appearances before returning to Portsmouth in January 2011. Ben Haim was in dispute with Portsmouth over £1.4million in unpaid wages. Because of this, manager Steve Cotterill was unable to select Ben Haim for the final fixtures of the 2010/11 season.
Ben Haim went on to play 33 times for Pompey in the 2011/2012 season, as the South coast side were relegated to League 1. Ben Haim refused to take a letter from a supporters group asking them to waive their wages and suggested that the administrator (Trevor Birch) take a pay cut instead.
In August 2012, Ben Haim finally reached an agreement with Portsmouth and subsequently left the club.
Ben Haim then joined Premier League side Queens Park Rangers in January 2013, before spending a season with Belgian side Standard Liege.
In the Summer of 2014, Ben Haim signed for tonight's opponents Charlton Athletic. In a season at the Valley, Ben Haim played 38 times. Last Summer, Ben Haim returned to first club Maccabi Tel Aviv, and was sent off against former club Chelsea in the Champions League last November.
Ben Haim has also played 91 times for Israel, scoring two goals.