The makeover of MLS's Los Angeles Galaxy, which Coach Frank Yallop began nearly a year ago when he replaced Steve Sampson, continues with one of the more exotic signings in league history.
Portuguese defender Abel Xavier, whose dyed-blond beard and curly hair once earned him the nickname 'King Neptune' has joined the Galaxy after being released by English Premier League club Middlesbrough. He will be eligible to play once the U.S. secondary transfer window opens June 15.
Xavier, 34, played for Portugal at the 2000 European Championship and 2002 World Cup and accumulated 20 caps. He has played for 10 clubs in Europe: Liverpool, Everton and Middlesbrough (England); Estrela Amadora and Benfica (Portugal), Bari and Roma (Italy); Real Oviedo (Spain); PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands); and Galatasaray (Turkey).
He can play either central defender or right back, and while the team could trade right back Chris Albright to free up a roster spot and salary-cap space to accommodate Xavier, it already has room on the 18-man roster. Yallop could choose to play him in central defense and move rookie Ty Harden, who is on the developmental roster but has been starting regularly, to the bench.