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Xavier quits Liverpool for Hanover

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BERLIN, Germany -- Former Portugal defender Abel Xavier has joined Hanover 96, signing a contract with the Bundesliga side until June 2005.

Xavier, sporting a black and white striped hairdo, joined three other new signings -- American Clint Mathis, Jaime of Spain and Russian Vladimir But in being introduced at a news conference.

The 31-year-old, who had previously been on loan at Galatasary, signed after having his contract with Liverpool terminated by mutual consent.

Xavier was banned from international football for nine months after manhandling the referee at the end of the Euro 2000 semi-final against France, although the ban was later reduced on appeal.

He last appeared as a substitute in Portugal's 1-0 defeat to South Korea in the 2002 World Cup finals.

Hanover, who moved up to 10th in the Bundesliga after Sunday's 3-2 victory over Hamburg, have also added Serbian striker Stanko Svitlica to their squad.

The Legia Warsaw player also signed a contract until 2005 on Monday.

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