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Faisal (Abel) Xavier
Personal information
Full name Abel Luís da Silva Costa Xavier
Date of birth November 30, 1972 (1972-11-30) (age 37)
Place of birth    Nampula, Portuguese East Africa
(now Mozambique)
Height 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current club Retired
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
Estrela da Amadora
Real Oviedo
Galatasaray (loan)
Hannover 96
Los Angeles Galaxy
085 0(5)
045 0(4)
008 0(0)
058 0(0)
019 0(2)
043 0(0)
014 0(1)
011 0(0)
005 0(0)
003 0(0)
018 0(1)
021 0(0)   
National team
1993–2002 Portugal 020 0(2)

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only and
correct as of 4 July 2008.
* Appearances (Goals)

Faisal Xavier[1][2] (born Abel Luís da Silva Costa Xavier (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐˈbɛɫ ʃɐviˈɛɾ]) on the 30 November 1972) is a former Portuguese professional footballer who last played for Los Angeles Galaxy, and is also a former international for the Portuguese national team. In December 2009, Abel Xavier converted to Islam and changed his name to Faisal Xavier.



Xavier is a central defender and was a part of the squad for the Portugal national team that participated in U-17 world cup in Scotland.

Xavier debuted in the Portuguese top division with Estrela da Amadora. His play there earned him a transfer to Lisbon-giants Sport Lisboa e 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, and then to Premier League club Everton, where he stayed for three years. Xavier was then sold to Merseyside rivals Liverpool where he scored on his debut against Ipswich Town.[3] He stayed at Liverpool for two years, scoring once more against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League,[4] then started another set of one-year stints with Galatasaray (2002-2003), Hannover 96 (2003-2004), and finally Roma (2004-2005).

For the national team, Xavier missed UEFA Euro 1996, but came back strong in 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 his eye-catching bleached hair and 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 David Trezeguet 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. 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.

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 once 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. 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.[5]

In the summer of 2006, Xavier began training 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.[6]

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.[7][8][9]

Personal life

In December 2009, Xavier announced that he converted to Islam and that his new name is Faisal.[10]



Runner Up

See also


  1. ^ "Abel Xavier Quits Football And Converts To Islam". Retrieved 30 December 2009.  
  2. ^ "Ex-Liverpool and Everton star Abel Xavier converts to Islam and quits football at 37". Retrieved 30 December 2009.  
  3. ^ "Liverpool six-hitters stun Ipswich". BBC. 9 February 2002. Retrieved 23 October 2009.  
  4. ^ "Liverpool suffer Euro woe". BBC. 9 April 2002. Retrieved 3 November 2009.  
  5. ^ "Xavier suspension reduced". 2006-07-11. Retrieved 2008-07-19.  
  6. ^ "Middlesbrough 5-1 Bolton". BBC. 20 January 2007. Retrieved 23 October 2009.  
  7. ^ "Dominguez added to Galaxy roster". 2008-07-18. Retrieved 2008-07-19.  
  8. ^ "Xavier Speaks Out Against Gullit". 2008-02-21.  
  9. ^ "McCarthy's Musings: More from Xavier and Welcome to Toronto". 2008-02-22.  
  10. ^ "Abel Xavier Quits Football And Converts To Islam". Retrieved 30 December 2009.  

External links

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