|Full name||Abel Luís da Silva Costa Xavier|
|Date of birth||30 November 1972|
|Place of birth||Nampula, Portuguese Mozambique|
|Height||1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Playing position||Full back|
|1990–1993||Estrela da Amadora||85||(5)|
|2003||→ Galatasaray (loan)||11||(0)|
|2007–2008||Los Angeles Galaxy||21||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Abel Xavier (also known by the first name Faisal) (born Abel Luís da Silva Costa Xavier (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐˈbɛɫ ʃɐviˈɛɾ]) on 30 November 1972) is a retired Portuguese footballer who played as a full back. Briefly in 2013, he was the manager of the Portuguese club Olhanense.
He debuted in the Portuguese top division with Estrela da Amadora. Xavier's play there earned him a transfer to Lisbon giants Benfica. He helped Benfica win the Portuguese League in 1994, and a season after, he moved to Serie A side Bari. This stint with the Italian club started a series of transfers across Europe: in 1996, Xavier was sent to Real Oviedo, then after two seasons he moved to PSV Eindhoven.
Everton and Liverpool
Xavier joined Premier League club Everton in September 1999 for £1.5 million. He was sold to Everton's Merseyside rivals Liverpool on 30 January 2002 for £800,000, the most recent of a long line of players to "cross the Park", but is the only player to have played for both sides in the Merseyside derby in the same season. He was signed to bolster Liverpool's defence following Markus Babbel's absence through illness. Xavier scored on his Liverpool debut against Ipswich Town. He also scored against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League. Liverpool ended the 2001–02 season as runners-up to Arsenal.
Xavier started the first four league games of the 2002-03 FA Premier League season but later argued with Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier and did not feature in any of the remaining games. On 29 January 2003 he was loaned to Galatasaray of Turkey for the remainder of the season, with an option of a permanent move in the summer.
At the start of the 2005–06 season, Xavier was without a club but at the end of August, he signed for Middlesbrough to replace Michael Reiziger after the Dutchman was sold to PSV. Following the UEFA Cup tie against Skoda Xanthi, Xavier was administered a drugs test and failed. On 23 November 2005, he was found guilty of using the anabolic steroid methandrostenolone (also known as dianabol). Although he has always denied any wrongdoing, the tribunal banned him from professional football for a period of 18 months, a suspension which caused him to miss Middlesbrough's run to the 2006 UEFA Cup Final. Xavier appealed the decision but on 21 December, UEFA turned down the appeal. The ban got shortened to 12 months in June 2006, making him eligible to play again from November 2006.
In the summer of 2006, Xavier began training again with Middlesbrough, and on 8 November 2006, was offered a contract with the club for the remainder of the 2006–07 season. He scored his first Boro goal in January 2007 against Bolton Wanderers.
On 14 May 2007, it was announced that he was to join Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer (MLS). He played in his first game with the Galaxy on 17 June 2007 against Real Salt Lake, registering an assist.
Xavier was waived by Los Angeles on 18 July 2008. Later, in an interview to an online football site, Xavier criticized then-Galaxy manager Ruud Gullit and MLS. In December 2009, Xavier quit football.
Xavier's full international debut came on 31 March 1993, away in Switzerland in qualification for the 1994 FIFA World Cup. He played three more matches in the unsuccessful qualification campaign that year and did not play for Portugal again until 1998.
Xavier was selected for UEFA Euro 2000, and became one of the key figures in the competition, not only due to playing some of his best football but also due to a distinctly bleached-blonde hairstyle with a matching beard. In the semi-final against France, he went from close to hero, as Fabien Barthez blocked what looked a sure goal, to a villain, when he deflected a shot by Sylvain Wiltord near the post in the dying seconds of golden goal extra time with his hand. Zinedine Zidane scored the penalty and put France in the final. Xavier was initially given a nine-month ban from football for his vociferous protests against referee Günter Benkö decision to award the penalty, but it was eventually reduced to six months. In the 2002 FIFA World Cup, he was part of the squad, but played only as a substitute in the final group stage match against the Republic of Korea in his final of 20 internationals.
|1||14 October 1998||Tehelné pole, Bratislava, Slovakia||Slovakia||0–3||0–3||Euro 2000 qualifying|
|2||9 October 1999||Estádio da Luz (1954), Lisbon, Portugal||Hungary||3–0||3–0||Euro 2000 qualifying|
Xavier was born in Mozambique, which was then a Portuguese colony, and moved to Portugal as a child. On retiring from his playing career, Xavier converted to Islam and changed his first name to Faisal.
- "Abel Xavier Quits Football And Converts To Islam". Goal.com. Archived from the original on 26 December 2009. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
- "Ex-Liverpool and Everton star Abel Xavier converts to Islam and quits football at 37". London: www.dailymail.co.uk. 23 December 2009. Archived from the original on 16 January 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
- "Xavier completes Mersey move". BBC Sport. 30 January 2002. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
- "Liverpool six-hitters stun Ipswich". BBC. 9 February 2002. Retrieved 23 October 2009.
- "Liverpool suffer Euro woe". BBC. 9 April 2002. Retrieved 3 November 2009.
- http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/2679473.stm[dead link]
- "Xavier suspension reduced". uefa.com. 11 July 2006. Retrieved 19 July 2008.[dead link]
- Livie, Alex (8 November 2006). "Abel back in Boro fold". Sky Sports. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
- Fletcher, Paul (20 January 2007). "Middlesbrough 5-1 Bolton". BBC. Retrieved 23 October 2009.
- "Dominguez added to Galaxy roster". la.galaxy.mlsnet.com. 18 July 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2008.[dead link]
- McCarthy, Kyle (22 July 2008). "McCarthy's Musings: Xavier Speaks Out Against Gullit". goal.com. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
- McCarthy, Kyle (23 July 2008). "McCarthy's Musings: More from Xavier and Welcome to Toronto". goal.com. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
- "Football MATCH: 31.03.1993 Switzerland v Portugal". eu-football.info. 31 March 1993. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
- "Football PLAYER: Abel Xavier". eu-football.info. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
- "Portuguese players suspended, federation fined". CNN Sports Illustrated. 2 July 2000. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
- "Referees under attack". BBC Sport. 18 November 2000. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
- "Abel Xavier é o novo treinador do Olhanense" (in Portuguese). publico.pt. 7 July 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
- "Abel Xavier Quits Football And Converts To Islam". goal.com. 24 December 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2013.