Santa Claus lookalike Portuguese defender who joined the reds in what seemed a cut price deal at the time from neighbours Everton midway through the 2001/02 season.
| ABEL XAVIER 2002/03|
by Dave Usher
Date of Birth - 30/11/72
Nationality - Portuguese
Position - Defender
Games - 21
Goals - 2
Club Hons (Lpool) - None
Intnl Hons - Portugal Caps
Other Clubs - Estrela Amadora, Benfica, Bari, Real Oviedo, PSV Eindhoven, Everton, Galatasaray (loan), Hannover 96, AS Roma, Middlesbrough, LA Galaxy (USA)
The signing would end up costing Liverpool a lot more than the initial £800,000 paid to the blues however.
Xavier proved to be a terrible purchase., His arrival spelled the end for promising young full back Stephen Wright, who found himself on the sidelines as Gerard Houllier had to justify the outlay he'd made on Xavier.
A solid, reliable performer for Everton, he failed to show those qualities in his time at Anfield. Used almost exclusively at right back, his lack of pace and slowness on the turn caused him countless problems against quick wingers.
There were some high points, notably a goal in the 6-0 drubbing of Ipswich at Portman Road and another in the 4-2 defeat in Germany to Leverkusen.
But overall Xavier struggled to make any impact at Anfield, and never looked like justifying the reported £40k a week salary he picked up during his time at the club.
That hefty salary made it difficult for the reds to get shut of the player, but eventually Turkish side Galatasaray came in and took him on loan. The move turned sour pretty quickly however, and the Turks cut short the deal early and sent him back to Merseyside.
Liverpool didn't want him back though, and ended up paying up the remainder of his contract rather than allow him to return to the club. He had short spells in Germany and Italy before returning to England with Middlesbrough, but his time at the Riversie wasn't a happy one and included a suspension for failing a dope test.
xavier then moved on to the United States, where he would become a team-mate of David Beckham at LA Galaxy.
More info on Abel Xavier:
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