Abel Xavier talks about Rafa Benitez and his own move from Everton to Liverpool in 2002

Sunday, 10 October, 2021 19comments  |  Jump to last
Xavier recalled this about reactions to his move: “I didn't change where I was living. I understand there are fans who won't forget that transfer but I never felt I had to move away to a different area.

“I stayed in the same place at the Albert Dock but just with a different club and I think that showed a lot.

“It was a city in which I could walk through the streets without any problems. Evertonians and Liverpudlians, they were talking to me and it was fine.”

» Read the full article at Liverpool Echo


Reader Comments (19)

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Michael Kenrick
1 Posted 10/10/2021 at 13:36:46
I'd forgotten about that crazy handball he did that gave Zinadine Zidane the chance for a late Golden Goal penalty win over Portugal in Euro2000. There was a massive onfield fracas with the Portugal players reacting very badly and Xavier getting an incredible 9-month ban from Uefa matches.

It's true, the reaction to his defection to the Red side was much less visceral than had greeted Barmby's shocking defection just 15 months earlier. Different times…

James Flynn
2 Posted 10/10/2021 at 19:45:57
Was he any good?
Don Alexander
3 Posted 10/10/2021 at 19:58:12
James, he wasn't brilliant but he was way better than the Portuguese waste-of-space/salary who later took the shirt, Nuno Valente.
Peter Gorman
4 Posted 10/10/2021 at 19:58:46
I think the reaction to his cross-park move was so muted because he was bang average.

Secretly some were even glad to see him go. Played well for Portugal though and looked good with his bleached blonde 'fro.

Graham Mockford
5 Posted 10/10/2021 at 20:03:14
James #2

He wasn't as good as he thought he was.

His Everton career highlight was he played in the 99 Derby win at Anfield

Had a history of falling out with managers, got banned for taking steroids, went bankrupt.

In the Everton Hall of Fame he's below Stracqualursi and marginally ahead of John Spencer.

John Pickles
6 Posted 10/10/2021 at 20:32:37
It's probably because, unlike scumbag Barmby, he didn't cost a small fortune, stink the place out for 3 seasons, then demand a transfer to Liverpool after finally having one good season.
James Flynn
7 Posted 10/10/2021 at 21:01:45
Thanks gents. Explains why I never heard his name in here before this.

Rob Dolby
8 Posted 11/10/2021 at 11:11:23
Don 3. A bit unfair on Nuno Valente. He was a good unassuming pro and very good left back.
Dave Lynch
9 Posted 11/10/2021 at 11:20:57
The one thing that sticks in my mind is.

I had a tenner every game he played for us to score the first goal, never happened.

He signs for Liverpool and on his debut...

Danny O’Neill
10 Posted 11/10/2021 at 12:15:37
He was okay, James, and the previous posts, both good and bad, pretty much sum him up. It's probably why (unless I missed something), he kind of faded away.

I agree Rob, harsh on Valente. I thought he was decent. Not great, but for where we were at the time, decent.

Barmby. My poor son's first heartbreak moment that I had to deal with. We were in Italy at the time and held a Brit community bonfire night, 5th November, year 2000 after the summer transfer. We took responsibility for providing Guy Fawkes and dressed him in my son's Everton Barmby shirt before putting him on his perch on top of the fire, much to the amusement / concern (*delete as appropriate) of the watching crowd.

Childish, but he was only 6. And I was 29. Choose / spot the child!!!

Peter Gorman
11 Posted 11/10/2021 at 12:41:36
Don, how was Valente worse than Xavier? Bit surprised by that shout, though maybe you spotted something we didn't, given that they played in sides with contrasting abilities.

Thought Xavier was pretty garbage tbh.

John Crook
12 Posted 11/10/2021 at 12:56:36
A garbage utility player really. One minute he was a centre-half, one minute a centre-mid, one minute a right-back. If I recall correctly (just to rub salt in blue wounds), I think he might've scored on his Liverpool debut, of course after failing to score for Everton in his 2/3 years at the club.

No-one lost any sleep over selling him (the club had to sell what they could at that time). Last thing I heard about Xavier was that he converted to Islam and changed his name (but I seriously couldn't be assed to Google that).

Lee Courtliff
13 Posted 11/10/2021 at 19:42:49
A very average Premier Leaue player who filled in multiple positions and never excelled at any of them, bar the odd good game.

As someone else said, Barmby was different because he was our record transfer, produced nothing for 3 seasons then had an excellent 99-00 season playing on the right of midfield where he weighed in with 10 goals.

Then demanded a transfer to fucking Liverpool!!!

Gerry Morrison
14 Posted 11/10/2021 at 20:11:50
I always thought Nuno Valente was a decent player.
Jeff Armstrong
15 Posted 11/10/2021 at 21:36:19
Gerry 14, so did Mourinho, he picked him for his Champions League-winning Porto side, but some seem to know better.
Billy Roberts
16 Posted 12/10/2021 at 15:47:16
Abel Xavier with Portugal; unable Xavier with Everton.

Like other posters have said: average, this explains the lack of animosity towards his transfer.

It was greeted with bemusement more than anything really. I think his bleach blonde Neptune look was the most memorable thing about him.

As for Nuno Valente, I genuinely can't remember him. I've got a complete blank spot there. I was going to Goodison regularly at the time so this might say more about me than the player?

Any famous highlights from him? That's football – not hairstyle.

Dale Self
17 Posted 12/10/2021 at 16:52:04
Good post Billy, agreed.
Stephen Vincent
18 Posted 12/10/2021 at 17:26:14
A reminder, there is just about 6 hours left on the auction for the signed Pat Nevin autobiography the only bid to date is £30. All proceeds to the TW Golf Day charity appeal. Given that the price of the book is £20 I would have thought that the auction would have raised more.

Come on blues be generous.

Craig Harrison
19 Posted 13/10/2021 at 01:20:43
Stephen. Do you have a link?

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