Xavier backs Smith as he backs out

Last updated : 25 January 2002 By Austin Rathe
Xavier has once again said that he never wanted to leave The Blues , and said: "I have always said I wanted to stay at the club but unfortunately it was not possible and at the moment I am now trying to find a solution for my career and for my future also.

"I believe that it is very important for a player to have stability and of course in Everton that was not possible for me. I want to thank the people of Merseyside, the Evertonians and the Liverpudlians, for the way they have treated me while have been here, and I want to tell you about the respect I have for Walter Smith, who I believe is doing a fantastic job as manager at this club.

"There is no doubt he is the man for the job at Everton and although I am leaving the club, the recent support I showed for him was, I can assure you, really from my heart."

In my humble opinion, i think anyone who wants to get on Abel's back shoulc give him a break. He negotiated with the club to try and make a deal, but it just didn't happen, and at all times the negotiations were kept private, as they should be. Ok, so he's leaving for a bigger and better club (probably), but why shouldnt he, its a career after all, yo have to move forward. Xavier has acted professionally throughout this saga and should be respected for doing so.

He is expected to move back to his native Portugal, probably to Sporting Lisbon with a week.