December 24, 2009

Former Portuguese international Abel Xavier will now go by the name of Faisal Xavier after quitting soccer at the age of 38.

In converting to Islam, the ex-Liverpool and Everton man has stated his regret at leaving the sport behind, but has also claimed that he is happy with his new-found faith.

"While it's an emotional farewell, I hope to participate in something very special as I enter a new stage of my life," he said at a press conference in Abu Dhabi. "In times of trouble, I have found comfort in Islam. Gradually, I learned of learned a religion that professes peace, equality, freedom and hope. These are extremely important."

Xavier further stated that he is to now undertake humanitarian work with the United Nations while working in the American film industry.

The Mozambique-born defender last played for the Los Angeles Galaxy, following a career that saw him ply his trade in Portugal, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, England, Turkey, Germany and the U.S.

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