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X Speaks

Former Galaxy defender Abel Xavier told the Insider tonight that his contract was guaranteed and, by waiving him, the club did not create any salary cap space. Xavier was due to make $156,000 this season. Through a team spokesman, Los Angeles GM Alexi Lalas declined to comment.

During a 30-minute telephone conversation, Xavier, 35, also said the Galaxy's decision to waive him last week -- a story first reported on the Insider -- "was a personal issue and had nothing to do with football. [Coach] Ruud Gullit made a personal decision. He doesn't like me for a long time. ... He has too much power. You can't give that much power to a coach because you start to lose your identity as a club. The identity of the Galaxy should always prevail."

Galaxy officials did not want to comment at this time, but in an interview with the Los Angeles Daily News before Xavier's dismissal last week, Gullit said: "You don't want anyone who is a bad apple."

This evening, Xavier also said that Gullit "doesn't respect the players, he doesn't communicate with the players. He never wants to listen to the players. It's a bad environment. He doesn't like players with personality. The players are afraid to speak out because, for most of them, their jobs are not guaranteed. They are afraid of losing their jobs. ... Look at Carlos Ruiz: One week Ruud Gullit wants to trade him and the next week he wants to be his best friend. ... With all the friction between the coach and the players, how can you have a healthy environment?"

On his one-plus seasons with Los Angeles, Xavier said: "I enjoyed my time with the Galaxy, I enjoyed the fans. When I play, I show my passion, but of course for me it was a big disappointment when they told me I was no longer with the club."

On David Beckham: "David is a tremendous professional -- his mentality, his talent, his heart. For me, it was a pleasure to play with him."

On his future: "This is my moment of reflection. I feel physically and mentally strong and I want to continue my career. I need to reflect before I make my next decision."

Sour grapes or legitimate concerns?

By Steve Goff  |  July 21, 2008; 9:37 PM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Next: Morning Kickaround

Comments

Maybe DC has opening for defender who can handle ball?

Posted by: X | July 21, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

nice work Goff!

Posted by: andrew | July 21, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

that's a pretty good scoop. Xavier has to know he's a poor defender at this point though. perhaps he should reflect on that.

Very interesting that cutting him loose basically got LA nothing. Could that be Ruud not knowing MLS rules? That would seem to bear out what Xavier says about him having too much power if ditching him was Ruud's idea. Altho you would suspect that Bravo and Lalas would have some sort of input.

Posted by: Glenn | July 21, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

gotta love LA schadenfreude.

cant wait for the follow up (anything to deflect attention away from dcu's woes)

Posted by: FreeDC | July 21, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

I have nothing to add except my wonderment at the awesomeness of the top soccer journalist in the nation.

Posted by: seth|NYC | July 21, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Sour grapes! He needs to just take responsibility for his actions and move on. Telling people these things, true or not, really shows his character. What a D-Bag. I don't see him getting picked up anytime soon. He was a horrible defender.

Posted by: kris | July 21, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Rrraawwwrrr. Pfft, Pfft.

Cat fights. Gotta luv 'em.

Posted by: Beaker | July 21, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Xavier: "It's a bad environment. He doesn't like players with personality."

I put this into Google's translator and it says: "The environment wasn't good for me. He doesn't like players who are d*cks." [ed. note: I'd also imagine he doesn't like defenders who aren't great defenders.]

Posted by: Beaker | July 21, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

[ed. note: I'd also imagine he doesn't like defenders who aren't great defenders.]


Posted by: Beaker | July 21, 2008 10:33 PM

------------------------------------
Gee... what a concept! Someone needs to set this guy straight. Has he seen himself play????? As a dcu fan, I was even happy to see him go!

Posted by: kris | July 21, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Xavier was once a pretty damn good player and he is not that anymore. Gullitt probably just couldn't stand watching someone who is more interested in dying his hair than stopping forwards.

Posted by: Felix | July 21, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

I think Xavier was good for the league, and good for the galaxy. MLS is missing personalities. Look at the european game, look at the NBA and the NFL-- they're all leagues filled with controversial players. Having them makes the games more interesting.

Posted by: dc | July 21, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

I hear that Xavier will sign with the California Highway Patrol as their DP (Designated Pylon).

Posted by: JB TFC | July 21, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

call me crazy but i'm actually gonna miss X, he was actually a very capable defender last season and only dropped in form this year, but I also think that has to do with the whole D in general, it's awful.

As someone said, this league needs characters and individuals like X, he was good for the league. Not to mention he told Crisitano Ronaldo good things about the league, and if any future Portugal nats look to head over here they'll give X a call for advice on his experience.

Thanks for your service X, I for one will miss the Yeti causing havok in the box and getting himself into movies and TMZ

Posted by: crazy | July 21, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

There is a line between having personality and being a jerk. I think I know which side Xavier is on.

Posted by: Rich C | July 21, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

No cap relief -- well done, Lalas.

Posted by: RK | July 21, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

FreeDC: Gotta love a sports blog where the readers know (and can spell) schadenfreude. Along with the X scoop, this comment confirms that SI is indeed the finest sports blog anywhere!

Posted by: LD | July 21, 2008 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Cap relief or no, if he is toxic in the locker room, it is a good move. A bad attitude can spread like a cancer...

Posted by: Buckwheat | July 21, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, the league could maybe use some characters but not at the expense of talent. He's no good, he's no good, he's no good, baby he's no good. -- Linda Rostadt

Nice there's no salary cap relief for the Gal's, weeeee. :-)

Posted by: Kire | July 21, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

FreeDC: Gotta love a sports blog where the readers know (and can spell) schadenfreude.

Posted by: LD | July 21, 2008 11:04 PM


If you don't love schadenfreude you have no heart! :-)

Posted by: Kire | July 21, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

"There is a line between having personality and being a jerk. I think I know which side Xavier is on."

The same side as Blanco?

Posted by: FHS | July 21, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Im not surprised that the environment is not that cohesive in the galaxy and it does start with the gen mgr, Lalas, since he came the Galaxy has not made the playoffs, Lalas dismantled a championship team and got no one including Xavier, but im sure he is speaking the truth, it sounds like its not a good environment to play in.
LALAS MUST GO!!!

Posted by: Ron | July 22, 2008 12:32 AM | Report abuse

If X wasn't the worst defender in MLS this season it might be easier to listen to his comments as being possibly true. I'm sure Ruud is not close with his players but Yallop was extremely close with the players and got no results. Nothing wrong with a different approach.

The most interesting thing in your story was about the salary still counting against the cap. That's a huge black mark against Lalas for giving a 2 year guaranteed contract to X in the first place. Any way for you to confirm this piece of the story?

Posted by: Mike in LA | July 22, 2008 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, but most people would agree that Abel's defending was really subpar this season. He looked old and slow.

9:37pm on a Monday night and the Goffster still manages to get the exclusive. Freaking ridiculous.

Tomorrow night, join us for yet another episode of 'As the Galaxy Turns'...

Posted by: yankiboy | July 22, 2008 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Further proof that cocaine isn't a performance enhancing drug...

Posted by: AlecW81 | July 22, 2008 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Cocaine is a hell of a drug

Posted by: rick james | July 22, 2008 1:22 AM | Report abuse

thanks for the inside infos !

no cap relief then :(
thought he was one of the guys on a week by week thing...

Posted by: Ben | July 22, 2008 1:25 AM | Report abuse

I'm Xavier James BIATCH!

who dun did it!

Whatch talkin' bout Lalas!

You FOO! The Galaxy is going nowhere! sucka!

Posted by: stuck in the 80's | July 22, 2008 1:33 AM | Report abuse

You're out on a limb with those last couple of jokes.

Posted by: sitruc | July 22, 2008 1:42 AM | Report abuse

Although Xavier's signing did not bring cap relief to the Galaxy,it gave them the roster spot they needed for Dominguez.

Posted by: PX | July 22, 2008 1:46 AM | Report abuse

I think people are missing the biggest scoop of all. Alexi Lalas had NO COMMENT!! When was the last time that happened?

Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey | July 22, 2008 6:02 AM | Report abuse

Colin Clark must be upset. There goes a defender he knows he can beat 1v1.

Posted by: J. | July 22, 2008 6:08 AM | Report abuse

@Posted by: Mike in LA | July 22, 2008 12:53 AM

Sorry, but there is a Mr. Greg Vanney who would like to disagree that Xavier is the worst defender in MLS.

Xavier was their best defender last season (which isn't saying a ton) but really did look out of sorts this year. I honestly think he is just one of those guys who REALLY needs a good keeper behind him instructing him and moving him which Cronin simply is not.
I'm sure if Xavier went to SJ with Cannon again he would have an uptick in performance. I am sure it would require a bit of a pay cut though.

Posted by: papa bear | July 22, 2008 6:15 AM | Report abuse

I think hes words are a little bit of both. Hopefully he can latch on somewhere else. I love players with personalities..

Great scoop Goff!

Posted by: strago | July 22, 2008 7:09 AM | Report abuse

so, if Xavier still counts against the cap how could they afford to pay this new defender they just signed? They couldn't possibly have more than a couple grand to spend under the cap.

Posted by: Glenn | July 22, 2008 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Given his poor performances this season (which *somehow* escaped his mention), Abel Xavier's comments seem disingenuous. Plus, to lump himself together with Carlos Ruiz, a player not generally known to be "good in the locker room," does not help his cause. Sounds like sour grapes, all right.
And for those blaming Lalas - what, exactly, was he supposed to get for a defender who is kind of pricey and can no longer defend effectively? Cutting him's all he could do at this point, really.

Posted by: schmuckatelli | July 22, 2008 7:21 AM | Report abuse

I wish they would've kept him. With X in the Galaxy backline he made the United defense look like the '85 Chicago Bears.

Posted by: DirtyHarry | July 22, 2008 7:47 AM | Report abuse

I think the Galaxy have allocation money to use on Dominguez; they just needed the roster spot.

I'm really disappointed in X. What does he expect? He cost the Galaxy a lot of points this season, he costs the Galaxy $156,000 on the cap, and he refuses to play on turf. And yet....all he had to do was be halfway decent on defense and they would have kept him. Course, his idea of good soccer is putting 8 men behind the ball. Now, that ain't sexy.

Good riddance!

Posted by: Nicole | July 22, 2008 8:07 AM | Report abuse

First, I think Xavier is old and slow and deserved to be cut AND that his coach is probably a jacka$$.
Second, I think that USSF officials are missing in action at the request of MLS on the Blanco situation, until after MLS All Star game. The conspiracy is bigger than you didn't think it was already. :)
Check it.

Posted by: David | July 22, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

This is a great inside story led by Goffinho.
As for the cat fight, could go either way. He said, she said.

Posted by: JMR | July 22, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Lalas + Gullit + Xavier = Moron Sandwich

Posted by: Kev | July 22, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

And for those blaming Lalas - what, exactly, was he supposed to get for a defender who is kind of pricey and can no longer defend effectively? Cutting him's all he could do at this point, really.

Posted by: schmuckatelli | July 22, 2008 7:21 AM
-------------------------

How about not signing an aging 34-year-old to 2 years guaranteed? You never know what's going to happen to an athlete when they hit there mid-30's especially for a soccer league that plays in the summer heat and often on turf.

I'm sure that that's what the DCU front office was thinking when Christian Gomez wanted the guaranteed three years...what happens if he breaks down at age 35? All you can do is cut him and take the bite or pay him the high salary to sit the bench. I'm not saying that Gomito will necessarily break down two seasons from now, but it was a consideration.

Posted by: DE | July 22, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

"Sour grapes or legitimate concerns?"

Both.

Posted by: GoUnited | July 22, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Abel should try looking into bullfighting. Ole!

Posted by: SeaOtter | July 22, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

i think we should pic him up

Posted by: diggs | July 22, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Xavier forgot to mention how much he sucks at defending and marking his men... and how that might have factored into the decision.

Posted by: jake | July 22, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Xavier forgot to mention how much he sucks at defending and marking his men... and how that might have factored into the decision.

Posted by: jake | July 22, 2008 10:35 AM

That just makes him par for the course in MLS. Can anyone really defend in our league?

Don't get me wrong, Xavier is a bonehead, but I don't think this was strictly about his performances.

Posted by: Kev | July 22, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

maybe goff u should give Julian Valentin a call. he is blogger and am sure he is not aafraid of giving a scoop or two on this story. Also scarface (valentin) can be the next personality in defense.

Posted by: Einar | July 22, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

diggs:

I really hope you are talking about a team in MLS that doesn't play in DC. The only way he should be playing regularly at RFK is if, through a series of trades, he ends up happening to play for United opponents over and over again.

***

MLS loses a colorful personality and a well-known name (thanks to his hair and that whole cocaine thing, soccer fans worldwide know who Xavier is), but the league's overall quality benefits from addition by subtraction. While I'd love to see him playing for an Eastern Conference team so DC could have easy pickings, I realize that's selfish. Having a guy like Xavier, who has shown questionable professionalism throughout his career and is the definition of a has-been, is not good for MLS. Having the label of a retirement home for players who have long become useless is not going to help persuade good players to come to this league. Image means a lot.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | July 22, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I'd take his comments about LA not getting any cap relief with a grain of salt. This is the smae guy who claims he never fakes an injury yet he seemed to turn up on the injury report every time LA was due to play on turf.

Posted by: king chubb | July 22, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Maybe being unhappy was part of why he was playing like crap this year. Of course you would only know that if he went to play for another team and did well - it will be interesting to see what team might take that chance.

Posted by: ff | July 22, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

He's no good, he's no good, he's no good, baby he's no good. -- Linda Rostadt
========================================

Clint Ballard, Jr., actually.

Posted by: tri-village | July 22, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

with our team i think he and and peralta would be very solid in the middle and i bet we can get him for cheap and we know what he is capable of plus he is in shape. we need a solid vet. who can start now on defence . im sorry if you dont like him but he would fit in well here

Posted by: Diggs | July 22, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Hah! I *thought* we would have heard something on July 1 if the Galaxy had changed X's contract to a month-to-month deal!

You can take Alexi out of the Metro Front Office, but you can't take the Metro Front Office out of Alexi...

Posted by: EdTheRed | July 22, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to miss the hair.

Posted by: Sam | July 22, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

As a Galaxy fan, I'm disappointed to hear that we weren't clearing any cap space (why, why sign an aging out-of-contract player to a a guaranteed deal?), but I'm all for freeing up a roster space for somebody who can actually defend.

I'm not sure that at this point Vanney is any better than Xavier, but he at least keeps his mouth shut and will play on turf. Sadly, those really are factors one has to consider.

Posted by: Jon E | July 22, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

I have always beleived this is the way he would go out. I mean look at this guy's career, he has lasted about this long for every club he has played for. He has a good season, then he pisses everyone off, then he goes someplace else. I guess any environment X is in turns bad pretty quick.

Posted by: David | July 22, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

"Sorry, but there is a Mr. Greg Vanney who would like to disagree that Xavier is the worst defender in MLS."

Right on! I bet this is Vanney's last season at LA, and he better not get picked up by Seattle or I cancel my season tickets!

Posted by: Gary B. | July 22, 2008 11:45 PM | Report abuse

This is typical Xavier venting, but he's absoultely right about Gullit. He's an ass. We saw the same kind of attitude at Newcastle -- his last game in charge, at home against arch rivals Sunderland, he BENCHED Shearer and Big Dunc Ferguson and started a reserve striker and Kieron Dyer up front, then threw Shearer and Ferguson on when 2-1 down to save the point. We lost to our rivals, and he blamed BOTH Shearer and Ferguson! He "resigned" within two days.
I'm sure, if he wasn't already the poster boy for growing MLS, he'd bench BECKHAM if he could get away with it.

Posted by: Lazlo | July 23, 2008 1:32 AM | Report abuse

Good riddance Abel, please take the other washed up defender with you ( Vanney)

Posted by: William | July 23, 2008 3:08 AM | Report abuse

Xavier makes some points. Wonder if Ruud is the reason Donovan is thinking about playing in Europe?

Posted by: cee dee | July 23, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

This is good stuff from Xavier, as a Galaxy season ticket holder I find his comments pretty amusing. It's all about 'Gullit doesn't want this' and Gullit doesn't want that'......

Abel seems to mention what Ruud really doesn't want, and that is a defender that can't defend in the 18 yard box. And, since that's not what Ruud wants, he went ahead and got rid of that defender. Way too shaky in the back, and we are talking about playing in the MLS.......

Posted by: Brad | July 23, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

My two girls and I love xavier, I sorry to see him go!! Galaxy needs a lot of work, it takes a great coach make that happen. I haven't seen much from him, as for the goalie corin, he should be the one who needs to be wavied. COME ON GAXALY LOOK AT YOUR SUCKY GOALIE. TIME FOR A NEW ONE!!!!

Posted by: galaxy fan | July 27, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

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