Brendan Rodgers says that Liel Abada’s exit from Celtic is ‘desperately sad’ after the Israeli joined MLS side Charlotte FC this week, and he revealed he knew there was no way back for the winger after watching his performance against Hibernian last month.

Rodgers had tried to find a resolution to Abada’s situation that would have allowed him to return to playing for his team, but with the pressure being placed upon him from back home in Israel due to the support a section of the Celtic fanbase consistently show for Palestine, he felt that his position had become untenable.

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And while he says there was no lack of will on Abada’s part to do his very best in a Celtic jersey, that pressure on the 22-year-old’s shoulders was clearly taking a toll that was affecting his performance levels.

“This game is played in the brain and mind,” Rodgers said.

“If you’re not quite there, it’s a difficult place to be. Especially at a club like this where the spotlight is on every single move you make.

“As a young player, we tried every which way to try and manage him through it. There was a lot of talk, a lot of warmth. But when you get to that point where you look to the future and what it could look like, sadly it wasn’t going to benefit anyone.

“The human side of it is most important. As much as he is a fantastic footballer, if he’s not in the right mind over a period of time it’s difficult.

“I felt after the Hibs game was a turning point. I’d always wanted him to be there and give him the opportunity to see if it could change. But after that was the moment, I felt it could be a real challenge.

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“It’s desperately sad, the whole situation. He’s a fantastic young player. He came here as a 19-year-old young man.

“He lit up the field with so many fantastic goals and he had a really successful period.

“Whatever doubts he had in the summer he was happy to commit to a new deal. Then, through no fault of his own, or the club, he’s had to leave to take his career elsewhere.”