Abel Xavier explains why things didn’t work out for him at Liverpool

Abel Xavier
(Image credit: PA Images)

Abel Xavier has described the circumstances around his move across the Merseyside divide from Everton to Liverpool - and explained why his time at Anfield was so short-lived. 

The former Portugal international departed Goodison in January 2002 after two-and-a-half years with the Toffees and joined their fiercest rivals. 

But he explained in the latest issue of FourFourTwo - which you can order here - that he wanted to help ease Everton’s financial woes and insists his change of allegiance hasn't caused any issues with the fans. 

Players Lounge 319

(Image credit: Future)

“I was loved at Everton, and my respect and gratitude for them couldn’t be higher,” he says.

“They were suffering financial issues and fighting relegation. I had a two-and-a-half-year deal and they couldn’t extend it. 

“Out of respect, I didn’t want to go for free, so Everton could receive a fee for me. 

“Liverpool were the ones who made an offer, and it was a shock. I was only the fourth player to move from Everton to Liverpool, but they gave me the chance to play in the Champions League and compete for trophies. 

“When someone does things with dignity, people should respect your reasons. Whenever I return to Merseyside, I’m treated very well by both Liverpool and Everton fans.”

Xavier’s spell at Anfield proved to be over quickly, however. The full-back was sent on loan to Galatasaray a year after arriving, and left for good at the end of the 2002/03 season. 

“We played Galatasaray in Istanbul and I was impressed with the atmosphere,” he explains.

“It was my first match in Turkey and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. That day I left the ground knowing I wanted to play for Galatasaray at some point. 

“When Jamie Carragher suffered a big injury and Gerard Houllier signed Steve Finnan, I knew I wouldn’t get to play as much as I wanted, so I joined Galatasaray on loan.”

Xavier was renowned for his weird and wonderful selection of hairstyles, and he revealed that they were even brought up in contract negotiations with potential new clubs. 

“Before Euro 2000, I went to a hairdresser and said, ‘I want to try a different look’,” he explains.

“He gave me the idea, and why not? I couldn’t have imagined the impact of the change! There was so much attention on me.”

Asked if managers asked him to change his style, he said: “Managers? It’s worse – I received offers from several clubs who wanted me to change my hairstyle before signing the contract! I shook hands and ended the meeting. 

“How on Earth can someone be worried about my look? It’s unacceptable. People should only care about my performances and professionalism.”

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FourFourTwo Staff

FourFourTwo was launched in 1994 on the back of a World Cup that England hadn’t even qualified for. It was an act of madness… but it somehow worked out. Our mission is to offer our intelligent, international audience access to the game’s biggest names, insightful analysis... and a bit of a giggle. We unashamedly love this game and we hope that our coverage reflects that.