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Galaxy Agree To Terms With Portuguese Defender Abel Xavier

May 14, 2007 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - LA Galaxy News Release

CARSON, Calif. (Monday, May 14, 2007) - The Los Angeles Galaxy today agreed to terms with Portuguese international defender Abel Xavier to join the club on a free transfer. The 34-year old defender, who can play both as a right back and a central defender, spent the last two seasons in the English Premier League with Middlesbrough, and has played in Germany, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Turkey during his 17-year professional career. Xavier is eligible to make his first team debut once the Secondary MLS Transfer Window opens on June 15. Per team and league regulations, details of the contract were not released.

"I'd like to thank Alexi Lalas, Frank Yallop and MLS for this opportunity," said Xavier. "Soccer is my life and I'm excited to continue my career in LA. Soccer in the United States continues to grow and I'm proud to be a part of it. I'm coming to win. With the great team and wonderful fans at the LA Galaxy everything is possible. I bring heart, hunger, desire and passion. This is me today, tomorrow, and always."

Originally born in Mozambique, Xavier was also eligible to play internationally for Portugal and he made his debut with the Portuguese National Team in 1993 against Switzerland. Over the next nine years, Xavier collected 20 caps for Portugal, scoring twice. He was on the Portugal roster and played four games at the 2000 European Championships where he helped his team reach the semifinals of the tournament in Holland and Belgium. Two years later, Xavier capped off his international career when he represented Portugal at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

"Abel brings immense experience and a wonderful personality to our team," said LA Galaxy President and General Manager Alexi Lalas. "He's a great defender and we're excited that he's coming to LA."

Xavier began his club career in Portugal with Estrela Amadora. After three years there, he was transferred to Portuguese giants SL Benfica. He would help Benfica win the Portuguese League Championship in his first year with the club in the 1993-94 season before moving one once again a year later to Bari of Italy's Serie A. Xavier would spend one season in Italy before moving on again, this time to Real Oviedo of the Spanish La Liga. He would play for Oviedo for two seasons before joining PSV Eindhoven in Holland. Xavier won the Dutch Super Cup in his lone season at PSV, as he signed with Everton of the English Premier League.

Xavier would spend the next four seasons in England, playing with Everton from 1999-2001 and then with Liverpool from 2001-2003. A loan spell at Turkish power Galatasaray and a stint at Roma in Serie A would follow before Xavier returned to England prior to the start of the 2005-06 season, this time with Middlesbrough.

"This is a terrific signing for us and he will bring so much experience, leadership and ability to the team," said LA Galaxy Head Coach Frank Yallop. "People of his quality are not often available for us to sign, so we are really happy that he is going to join us."

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