|Full name||Abel Luís da Silva Costa Xavier|
|Date of birth||30 November 1972|
|Place of birth||Nampula, Mozambique|
|Height||1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|1990–1993||Estrela da Amadora||85||(5)|
|1995–1996||→ Bari (loan)||8||(0)|
|2003||→ Galatasaray (loan)||11||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Abel Luís da Silva Costa Xavier (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐˈbɛɫ ʃɐviˈɛɾ]; born 30 November 1972) is a Portuguese former professional footballer who played as a full back. He is the current head coach of the Mozambique national team.
Xavier debuted in the Portuguese top division with Estrela da Amadora. His play there earned him a transfer to Lisbon club 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.
Everton and Liverpool
Xavier joined English Premier League club Everton in September 1999 on a £1.5 million transfer deal. He was sold to Everton's Merseyside rivals Liverpool on 30 January 2002 for £800,000, only the fourth player to transfer from Everton to Liverpool. 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 UEFA Champions League. Liverpool ended the 2001–02 FA Premier League 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 Gérard Houllier and did not feature in any of the remaining games, though he did play in a League Cup tie against Ipswich in December. On 29 January 2003, he was loaned to Turkish side Galatasaray 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 dismissed the appeal. The ban, however, was 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 Xavier was to join the LA 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.
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 professional football.
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 for senior team 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 France goalkeeper 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's decision to award the penalty, but it was eventually reduced to six months. In the 2002 World Cup, he was part of the squad but played only as a substitute in the final group stage match against South Korea in his final of 20 international appearances.
In July 2013, Xavier signed to be manager of Portuguese top division club Olhanense for the upcoming 2013–14 Primeira Liga season. He was sacked by the club on 28 October 2013, despite beating Arouca in his last match to reach 11th in the table.
Xavier was born in Mozambique, which was then a Portuguese colony, and moved to Portugal as a child. He grew up in a strict Catholic background. On retiring from his playing career, Xavier converted to Islam and changed his first name to Faisal.
|Portugal national team|
|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|
- As of 15 November 2016
|Olhanense||7 July 2013||28 October 2013||10||3||2||5||30.00|
|Farense||1 December 2014||28 May 2015||27||11||6||10||40.74|
|Desportivo Aves||9 July 2015||4 September 2015||6||0||2||4||0.00|
|Mozambique||26 January 2016||Present||9||2||2||5||22.22|
- Estrela da Amadora
- Johan Cruijff Shield: 1998–99
- Portugal Youth
- UEFA European Under-16 Championship: 1989
- FIFA U-16 World Cup: Third-place 1989
- UEFA Under-18 Championship: Runner-up 1990
- FIFA U-20 World Cup: 1991
- "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.
- "Liverpool spot-on to foil Ipswich". The Guardian. 5 December 2002. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
- "– Football – Eng Prem – Xavier moves to Galatasaray". BBC Sport. 29 January 2003. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
- "Xavier suspension reduced". UEFA. 11 July 2006. Archived from the original on 22 October 2007. Retrieved 19 July 2008.
- Livie, Alex (8 November 2006). "Abel back in Boro fold". Sky Sports. Archived from the original on 10 March 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
- Fletcher, Paul (20 January 2007). "Middlesbrough 5-1 Bolton". BBC. Retrieved 23 October 2009.
- "RSL finds offense but loses to LA, 3-2". KSL. 17 June 2007. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- "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.
- "Olhanense despede Abel Xavier". O Publico. 28 October 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- Gonçalves, Álvaro (2 December 2014). "Abel Xavier apresentado como treinador do Farense" [Abel Xavier presented as Farense coach]. ZeroZero (in Portuguese). Retrieved 3 December 2014.
- "Abel Xavier deixa Farense" [Abel Xavier leaves Farense]. ZeroZero (in Portuguese). 28 May 2015. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
- "Abel Xavier é o novo treinador do Aves" [Abel Xavier is Aves' new coach]. A Bola (in Portuguese). 9 July 2015. Archived from the original on 13 July 2015. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
- "Abel Xavier despedido" [Abel Xavier fired]. Record (in Portuguese). 4 September 2015. Archived from the original on 20 October 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
- "Mozambique appoint Abel Xavier as new national coach". BBC Sport. 26 January 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
- Anthony Vickers (15 December 2016). "On Reflection: Abel Xavier – a colourful character who was no stranger to controversy". Teesside Gazette. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
- "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". Daily Mail. London. 23 December 2009. Archived from the original on 16 January 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
- "Abel Xavier". ForaDeJogo. Retrieved 3 November 2017.