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FC Barcelona 2010/11 Season in Review: Eric Abidal

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VALENCIA, SPAIN - MAY 11:  Eric Abidal of Barcelona looks on during the La Liga match between Levante UD and Barcelona at Ciutat de Valencia on May 11, 2011 in Valencia, Spain. The match ended 1-1.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
VALENCIA, SPAIN - MAY 11: Eric Abidal of Barcelona looks on during the La Liga match between Levante UD and Barcelona at Ciutat de Valencia on May 11, 2011 in Valencia, Spain. The match ended 1-1. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
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Report: Eric Abidal started the season playing regular football on the left side of the defense and played at a very high level. His versatility proved to be very important with the short bench Guardiola had to operate with. When Carles Puyol or Gerard Pique needed a day of Abi effortlessly transitioned to the heart of the defense and when the captain injured his knee Eric made a permanent switch to the center-half position.

He brought a calming presence to the backline that was missing in games played without Puyol. Abidal even scored his first ever goal in a Blaugrana shirt, the goal that sent Barcelona through to the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey.

Abidal seemed to be having a career year, but then all of the suddenm he heard the worst news of his life. He was diagnosed with liver tumor. Just days later he had surgery to remove it. Speculations were made that not only his season was over, but also that his career was threatened.

Abidal proved to be one of the greatest warriors you will ever witness. Not only did he defeat cancer, he returned to the football pitch just six weeks after the surgery. He made his triumphant return as a substitute in extra time in the Champions League semi-final game against Real Madrid.

Eric continued to work really hard to be fit for the Champions League final against Manchester United. Not many expected to see him in the starting lineup on that night but there he was. But not only did he start in that game, save for a bad throw-in, he had a very good game

Moment of the season: Abidal had several moments of the season. His greatest achievement has to be his victory over cancer, but there was also his first goal ever as a Barcelona player (Athletic Bilbao on 5 January 2011) and the aforementioned appearance against Real Madrid. However, there was one more. The one that came as a reward for his remarkable fighting spirit. It came in London, when Abi, wearing the captains armband lifted the Champions League trophy.

Abidal lifts the Champions' League trophy ! (via NovakNoleDjokovic)

Stats:

Appearances 41
Games started 34
Started on the bench 13
Substitute in 7
Substitute out 3
Minutes played 3237
Goals scored 1
Assists 0
Shots 10
Shots on goal 4
Fouls committed 21
Fouls suffered 15
Yellow cards 3
Red cards 0

Record with Eric Abidal in the starting lineup: 26-6-2

2011/12 Outlook: Abidal decided he won't take any time off during the holiday season so he can work hard to be ready by opening day. He is expected to play a big role next season as there isn't much depth in the Barca defense. Eric is in the last year of his current contract and while he has a new offer on the table he hasn't signed it yet.

Next up: Adriano Correia

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