Report: Coming into the 2012-13 season nobody really knew if Eric Abidal will ever play football again. Remember, on 10 April 2012 Abidal underwent a liver transplant that was necessary because not all problems from the previous liver tumor were resolved.
Abidal always appeared confident in a return to the pitch, but the doctors were unsure what effect physical contact would have on his body. The Frenchman made the first step to a recovery in October when he started individual training in the Pyrenees. Gradually Abidal started increasing his workload and in December he was given the green light by Barcelona's medical staff to start training with the team.
The following month he played his first football match since February 2012, appearing in a friendly game with Barcelona B. On 6 April Abidal completed the comeback, replacing Gerard Pique in the game against RCD Mallorca. Abi went to appear in four consecutive La Liga games before succumbing to calf injury that forced him out of every game of the season, except the last one.
At that point everybody knew that the season finale against Malaga was going to be Abidal's last game in a Blaugrana shirt, and Barcelona planed a special goodbye for the Frenchman. To a roar from the crowd Abidal entered the pitch as a substitute in the 76th minute and was rewarded with a warm applause at every touch of the ball. After the game the club prepared a farewell ceremony and Abidal was given a framed shirt.
Even though Abidal was absent from the football pitch for over a year he didn't appear to lose much in that time. Positionally he remained excellent and his leadership abilities were greatly appreciated, even though they were only available for five games this season.
Moment of the season: Every single thing Abidal accomplished this year should be counted as a moment of the season. Coming back from a liver transplant to play in competitive games is an amazing achievement. But for Abidal, and countless Barça fans, the most emotional moment came after the Barcelona vs Malaga game. The ceremony was nothing less than Abidal deserved. Merci Abidal!
Tears for Eric Abidal in the last game in FC Barcelona (via HQAllGoals)
|Started on the Bench
|Shots on Goal
|BB Community Rating*||8.44|
*BB Community Rating represents the average rating (out of 10) Barca Blaugranes community members gave to the player for his performances throughout the season
Record with Eric Abidal in the starting lineup: 2-0-0
2013-14 Outlook: Abidal saw his previous contract run out and was not offered a new one by the Barcelona front office. To be honest, he was offered a new deal, however, it was for a management position, but Abidal wanted to continue playing. After a couple month search for a club Abi returned to the club where he began his football career, AS Monaco. Abidal will wear the captain's armband in the upcoming season for Monaco.
Next Up: Sergio Busquets