After months of speculation it is finally official, French left-back/center-back Eric Abidal will extend his contract until the end of the 2012-13 season. While that may sound as a short deal the contract includes two options that can extend Abidal's stay at the Camp Nou until 2015. The conditions for the yearly extensions are unknown yet, but knowing Sandro Rosell's team the condition is surely based on games played.
Eric became a hot commodity with just six months remaining on his current contract (I should say old contract now) as many English Premier League and French Ligue 1 sides offered contracts to the defender. Abidal, however, made it clear Barcelona is his first choice and that he wishes to retire with the pride of Catalonia, and after months of negotiating the two sides finally came to an agreement. The official signing of the new contract should take in the coming days.
Abidal was always a fan favorite for Culés because of his solid defending and gazelle-like running style, but he became a cult hero after he returned to the pitch just months after a surgery to remove a tumor on his liver. To make his speedy return even more special Carles Puyol gave Abi the captains armband after Barcelona beat Manchester United in the 2010-11 UEFA Champions League Final so the Frenchman would be the first to lift the trophy.
In his five year Blaugrana career Abidal made 177 appearances and scored one goal. During his time in Barcelona he became one of the most used defenders and has constantly been one of the best left-backs in the world. While he has never been an attacking force, unless you count the Copa del Rey game at San Mames against Athletic Bilbao when Abi scored the game winning goal, but his defending has always been solid and he acts as a calming presence when paired with Gerard Pique in the heart of the defense.
We're all delighted you decided to stay Eric.