Nir Bitton brought an end to his 9-year Celtic career at the end of the 2021/22 season. Amidst the title celebrations at Parkhead, in the final game of the campaign against Motherwell, the Israeli international said his goodbye to the Hoops fans. It was a bittersweet moment to say the least. It was great to see him leave as a Premiership champion but at the same time, sad to see such a long-time player go.
Bitton was an important member of the squad as well, and was one of the most frequent options to bring off the bench to solidify things and see out games. Thus, Celtic will need to replace him in the summer.
Rumours have suggested that Celtic did not want Bitton to leave and had actually offered him a new deal. But the player himself was interested in a new challenge, having done all that there was to do at the club.
"“I signed a new contract in 2019. I just finished it after three years. They had an option to continue the contract and they offered me a new contract not on the terms of the option. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not about money. I just got some kind of extraction. I won everything there, I played in all the possible competitions against the biggest players and I want to experience something different, whether it’s abroad or if it’s in Israel.”"
Bitton reveals why he did not sign a new deal with Celtic
Bitton joined Celtic in the summer of 2013 and was part of one of the most successful teams in the club’s and Scottish football history.
During this period of time, Celtic would win every domestic title many times over, even doing the Quadruple Treble, which saw them lift every trophy available in Scotland for four straight seasons. Thus, it is not hard to see why Bitton might have been looking for a different challenge.
Also, at 30 years of age, he might not have been satisfied with playing the role of an option to bring off the bench and might have been keen to be a first-team starter over the next few years before he ultimately decides to hang up the boots some time along the line.