Abel Xavier

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Abel Xavier
Personal information
Full name Abel Luís da Silva Costa Xavier
Date of birth (1972-11-30) 30 November 1972 (age 41)
Place of birth Nampula, Mozambique
Height 1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position Full back
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1990–1993 Estrela da Amadora 85 (5)
1993–1995 Benfica 45 (4)
1995–1996 Bari 8 (0)
1996–1998 Real Oviedo 58 (0)
1998–1999 PSV 19 (2)
1999–2002 Everton 43 (0)
2002–2003 Liverpool 14 (1)
2003 Galatasaray (loan) 11 (0)
2003–2004 Hannover 96 5 (0)
2005 Roma 3 (0)
2005–2007 Middlesbrough 18 (1)
2007–2008 Los Angeles Galaxy 21 (0)
Total 330 (13)
National team
1993–2002 Portugal 20 (2)
Teams managed
2013 Olhanense
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Faisal Abel Xavier [1][2] (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.

Xavier played for clubs in Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, England, Turkey and Germany before retiring with Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer in 2008.

From his debut in 1993, Xavier played 20 games for the Portuguese national team, and was selected in their squads for Euro 2000 and the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

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[edit]

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.[3] Xavier scored on his Liverpool debut against Ipswich Town.[4] He also scored against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League.[5] 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.[6]

Later career[edit]

Galatasaray did not take up the option to sign Xavier, who subsequently played for Hannover (2003–04), and Roma in 2004–05.

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.[7]

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.[8] He scored his first Boro goal in January 2007 against Bolton Wanderers.[9]

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 at home against Real Salt Lake, setting up fellow new signing Edson Buddle in a 3–2 win.[10]

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.[11][12][13] In December 2009, Xavier quit football.

International career[edit]

Xavier was a part of the Portugal squad which came third at the 1989 FIFA U-16 World Championship in Scotland.

Xavier's full international debut came on 31 March 1993, away in Switzerland in qualification for the 1994 FIFA World Cup.[14] He played three more matches in the unsuccessful qualification campaign that year and did not play for Portugal again until 1998.[15]

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,[16] but it was eventually reduced to six months.[17] 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.

International goals[edit]

Abel Xavier: International goals
Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
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

Managerial career[edit]

In July 2013, Xavier signed to be manager of Portuguese top-division club Olhanense for the upcoming season.[18] He was sacked by the club on 28 October 2013, despite beating FC Arouca in his last match to reach 11th in the table.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Xavier was born in Mozambique, which was then a Portuguese colony, and moved to Portugal as a child.[20] On retiring from his playing career, Xavier converted to Islam and changed his first name to Faisal.[21]

Honours[edit]

Benfica
PSV
Liverpool
Galatasaray

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Abel Xavier Quits Football And Converts To Islam". Goal.com. Archived from the original on 26 December 2009. Retrieved 30 December 2009. 
  2. ^ "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. 
  3. ^ "Xavier completes Mersey move". BBC Sport. 30 January 2002. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  4. ^ "Liverpool six-hitters stun Ipswich". BBC. 9 February 2002. Retrieved 23 October 2009. 
  5. ^ "Liverpool suffer Euro woe". BBC. 9 April 2002. Retrieved 3 November 2009. 
  6. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/2679473.stm[dead link]
  7. ^ "Xavier suspension reduced". uefa.com. 11 July 2006. Retrieved 19 July 2008. [dead link]
  8. ^ Livie, Alex (8 November 2006). "Abel back in Boro fold". Sky Sports. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  9. ^ Fletcher, Paul (20 January 2007). "Middlesbrough 5-1 Bolton". BBC. Retrieved 23 October 2009. 
  10. ^ "RSL finds offense but loses to LA, 3-2". KSL. 17 June 2007. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  11. ^ "Dominguez added to Galaxy roster". la.galaxy.mlsnet.com. 18 July 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2008. [dead link]
  12. ^ McCarthy, Kyle (22 July 2008). "McCarthy's Musings: Xavier Speaks Out Against Gullit". goal.com. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  13. ^ McCarthy, Kyle (23 July 2008). "McCarthy's Musings: More from Xavier and Welcome to Toronto". goal.com. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  14. ^ "Football MATCH: 31.03.1993 Switzerland v Portugal". eu-football.info. 31 March 1993. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  15. ^ "Football PLAYER: Abel Xavier". eu-football.info. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  16. ^ "Portuguese players suspended, federation fined". CNN Sports Illustrated. 2 July 2000. Retrieved 29 October 2010. 
  17. ^ "Referees under attack". BBC Sport. 18 November 2000. Retrieved 29 October 2010. 
  18. ^ "Abel Xavier é o novo treinador do Olhanense" (in Portuguese). publico.pt. 7 July 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  19. ^ "Olhanense despede Abel Xavier". O Publico. 28 October 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  20. ^ http://www.portugoal.net/index.php/player-profiles/126-players-v-z/162-player-profile-abel-xavier
  21. ^ "Abel Xavier Quits Football And Converts To Islam". goal.com. 24 December 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 

External links[edit]