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FC Barcelona News: 19 December 2014; Eric Abidal Announces Retirement, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi Win Award

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Éric Abidal announces retirement | FC Barcelona
On Friday at midday, 35-year-old Éric Abidal announced his retirement from football at a special conference called in the pressroom at his current club, Olympiakos. "This is a very important moment in my career" said the Frenchman. "I have made the decision to officially end my career." A regular in the Barça defence for six seasons, Abidal explained that his decision to hang up his boots was for personal reasons.

Éric Abidal's six years at FC Barcelona | FC Barcelona
The Frenchman is retiring after having won 4 leagues, 2 Champions Leagues, 2 Spanish Cups, 3 Spanish Super Cups, 2 European Super Cups and 2 Club World Cups while with Barça

Neymar gets the medical all-clear | FC Barcelona
Neymar was declared medically fit after Friday's training session and will thus be available for Saturday's clash against Córdoba at Camp Nou. He had been feeling a bit of tenderness in his left ankle and missed the last two matches against Getafe and Huesca.

Iniesta and Messi receive 2013 IFFHS award | FC Barcelona
On Friday, Andrés Iniesta and Leo Messi received the awards at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper from Robert Ley, vice-president of the International Federation of Football History & Statistics. Iniesta has been announced as the best playmaker in the world and Messi as the top goalscorer in the world’s biggest leagues.

19 December 2009: World Club title and sixth cup of the year! | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona, led by Pep Guardiola, entered the Guinness Book of World Records by winning their unprecedented sixth title in 2009. After winning the Spanish Cup, La Liga and the UEFA Champions League, all corresponding to the 2008/2009 season, followed by the Spanish Super Cup, The European Super Cup and the Club World Cup, corresponding to the 2009/2010 season, Barça went into the record books as the only team to have ever won everything in a single year.

Lionel Messi feeling strain of years at top for Barcelona and Argentina says Gerardo Martino - ESPN FC
"A very important thing is the 'wear and tear' he has had for 10 years, averaging 60 or 65 games per year," Martino said. "He plays a lot of decisive games which wear you out physically and psychologically. He has an extra load that no other player has. Everyone is waiting on him to resolve games, something that is very hard to change. We coaches must try to find ways of playing so that he is the most important part of the team, but not the saviour."

FC Barcelona to face Elche in Spanish Cup last 16 | FC Barcelona
Elche and Valladolid had played to a 0-0 draw in the first leg, but a lone goal from Adrian González in minute 6 of the return leg was enough to send Elche into the next round. The last time Elche reached this stage of the competition was ten years ago.

New-look Córdoba heading for the Camp Nou | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona are about to face each other in their first league encounter for 42 years. The Andalusians finally won promotion back to the top flight last season, but it’s nothing quite as long as that since the two teams last met. They were drawn together in the round of 16 of the Spanish Cup in 2012/13, when Barça won 2-0 in the first leg at the Nuevo Arcángel and finished off the job with a comfortable 5-0 win at home.

Córdoba return to Camp Nou | FC Barcelona
The sides have also met twice in the Spanish Cup. The first came in the last 16 in the 1963/64 – Barça came out on top in both legs that season. A more recent meeting came in the last 16 in 2012/13. The blaugranes were once again clearly superior winning 2-0 away in Andalusia and 5-0 at home in Camp Nou against a Córdoba who were then still a Second Division side.

Which of Romario's lobs do you prefer? | FC Barcelona
It was one of Romário’s favourite ways, of many, of finding the net – the lob over the goalkeeper was an essential part of the striker’s arsenal during his time at FC Barcelona. We have trawled through the archives and chosen two fine examples of the genre from the man known as baixinho. Choose your favourite via Twitter.

Iker Casillas' journey from the depths of despair to Real Madrid's 700 club - ESPN FC
Half a year can seem like a lifetime in the world of football -- just ask Iker Casillas. Just six months ago, the Real Madrid legend must have been wondering if his hugely decorated spell at Real Madrid was coming to a not-so-decorated conclusion but now the 33-year-old will hope to celebrate his 700th official appearance for the club he loves by lifting the FIFA Club World Cup on Saturday night.

Javier Hernandez's season-long loan at Real Madrid will not be cut short | Sky Sports
The Mexico forward moved to the Bernabeu on loan from Manchester United after struggling for playing time, but has found his opportunities similarly limited in Spain, prompting suggestions he may be keen to move elsewhere. But his agent, Eduardo Hernandez, insists there is no truth in that whatsoever.

Oblak saved us says Simeone | Football Espana
Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone said goalkeeper Jan Oblak had saved his team in the 2-2 Copa del Rey draw with lowly Hospitalet. Atleti won the first leg 3-0 and Simeone opted to rest several of his stars for the return at the Vicente Calderon, but saw his side struggle to see off the minnows.