Barcelona star Abidal to have liver transplant

IAIN ROGERS
Last updated 13:36 16/03/2012

Relevant offers

Football

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi clinches Uefa Best Player in Europe award Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho faces former club Porto in Champions League Wayne Rooney runs riot for Manchester United in Champions League qualifier Wellington Phoenix bundled out of FFA Cup by Melbourne City Holders Adelaide United oust Sydney FC from FFA Cup Suburbs say Marlborough knew suspended football coach was breaking the rules Mario Balotelli to have good behaviour clause in AC Milan contract Arsenal visit London rivals Tottenham in mouth-watering League Cup draw Valencia edge Monaco to become fifth Spanish team in the Champions League Winston Reid opens his wallet to help the next generation of Kiwi footballers

Barcelona defender Eric Abidal is to have a liver transplant, the Spanish and European champions said.

The France international, a cult figure among fans of the Catalan club, had surgery to remove a tumour from the organ last March before making a triumphant return to lift the Champions League trophy at Wembley just two months later.

"Over the coming weeks, the player (Abidal) will undergo a liver transplant," Barca said in a statement on their website (www.fcbarcelona.com).

"The transplant was an option already mentioned since the start of his treatment a year ago," the statement added.

The club did not say how long the 32-year-old would be out of action but his chances of returning before the end of the season and representing France at Euro 2012 starting in June must be in serious doubt.

Abidal's Barca team mates rallied behind him following the announcement, with striker David Villa, himself sidelined with a broken leg, saying they needed him back in the team as soon as possible.

"All my strength for Abidal!" Villa wrote on his Twitter feed. "You will get through it. You are very strong. We will all be by your side," he added.

Central defender Gerard Pique wrote on his feed: "You will return and you will do it like always, being the best! You are an example for everyone."

Barca are losing Abidal at a critical time in the season, with the Champions League holders through to the quarter-finals of Europe's elite club competition and bidding to close a 10-point gap with Real Madrid in La Liga.

They are also will face Athletic Bilbao in May's King's Cup final.

Abidal is likely to be replaced in Barcelona's lineup by Adriano and captain Carles Puyol is also able to fill in at left back.

Ad Feedback

- Reuters

Special offers
Opinion poll

Will Burnley retain their EPL status?

Yes, they've found a winning formula

Maybe, but there’s a long way to go

No. They lack quality in certain areas

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content