Abidal grateful to Barca fans

Eric Abidal thanked the Barcelona fans for the ovation he received when making his long-awaited comeback.

Last Updated: 07/04/13 at 13:26 Post Comment

Abidal: Made his first appearance in over a year on Saturday

Abidal: Made his first appearance in over a year on Saturday

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Eric Abidal thanked the Barcelona fans for the ovation he received on Saturday night on making his long-awaited comeback following liver surgery.

The 33-year-old defender was a 70th-minute replacement for Gerard Pique in Barca's 5-0 rout of Real Mallorca, making his first appearance in over a year after undergoing a liver transplant last April, having previously had surgery to remove a tumour in March 2011.

The France international told L'Equipe it had been a special moment.

"It was a long (lay-off)," he said. "I really struggled. I received a lot of support through this year and this was the most important thing. From my wife, my parents, my friends, but also the fans of Barcelona too.

"Without them, I would not have returned to football. It was a unique moment. I really enjoyed these 22 minutes, as I was told I played 22 minutes.

"My goal was to return. Now it is done and I try to look a little beyond this...

"After a year of effort and hard work, the ovation is the best thing I could have had."

Abidal added that he remains a long way short of full fitness and unable at present to play 90 minutes, with an hour in a friendly against Istres the most he has managed to date.

"I hope to be part of the group until the end of the season," he added. "Whether on the bench or in the stands, it is not too important. The most important thing is to feel good and enjoy all these moments with my team-mates."

Assistant coach Jordi Roura had dedicated last night's win to Abidal and to coach Tito Vilanova, who returned to the dugout earlier this week following two months in New York undergoing cancer treatment.

"It was a special day," Roura said. "We were able to witness Éric Abidal's return and, after many days, Tito Vilanova once again sat on the bench at the Camp Nou.

"It was a special moment for the whole team. We know that Éric is very much loved by everyone. Personally, I'm very happy and pleased."

There was plenty to celebrate in the performance too, highlighted by Cesc Fabregas who scored a hat-trick and created two more for Alexis Sanchez.

"Cesc adapted his play perfectly to the position of a false 9," Roura added. "He played an extraordinary game. He's an additional option that we have. But I'd also like to highlight (Alex) Song's game. In fact, everyone played well.".

Barca now have just a few days to prepare for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final with Paris St Germain following a 2-2 draw in the first leg.

However, Roura was giving little away regarding Barca's plans.

"This Saturday we opted for this pair of centre backs (Pique and Marc Bartra)," he said. "We'll see which players we use in those positions on Wednesday against PSG. We have to talk it over with Tito. We won't obsess about what their [PSG] characteristics are.

"A three-man defence and a 'robo' (diamond) in the middle of the pitch is also an option. We have a lot of options."


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet


More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

T

he thing is, footballers are role models, and children are influenced by them. I watched the Chelsea game with my 6 year old, and at school the next day she stamped on Emre Can.

megabrow (cufc)
Diego Costa: The Patron Saint Of S**thousery

Y

et again Barcelona try to convince the world that they only play the most virtuous of football. I've never seen a team so willing and able to dish out lumps but feel so self-righteous that no opposition player should ever have the audacity to tackle them.

charsmatcengma
Enrique hauls Neymar to safety

I

d love to see a United v Liverpool FA cup final. It would certainly fit the narrative. Obv I'd want the ending to be one of an O.G. and tears as he collects his runner-up medal.

GVMUFC
Gerrard Constantly Searching For That Final Hurrah

Footer 365

Eden Hazard: 'Chelsea need Diego Costa'

Eden Hazard admits Chelsea 'need' Diego Costa as he faces a three-match ban for a stamp on Emre Can on Tuesday night.

Copa del Rey: Luis Enrique says Neymar had to be substituted against Atletico Madrid to prevent injury

Luis Enrique says he had to substitute Neymar to prevent him from being injured in an ugly cup tie with Atletico.

Capital One Cup: Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino pleased to overcome challenging tie with Sheffield United

Mauricio Pochettino dedicated Tottenham's Capital One Cup semi-final triumph over Sheffield United to the fans.

Mail Box

But Biting Doesn't Hurt Like Stamping...

There are Liverpool fans arguing that Luis Suarez is nowhere near Diego Costa's sh*t-house league but we have plenty of love for the agitator too. Oh and Spurs...

Erm... Balotelli To QPR..?

It's an afternoon Mailbox that offers the reaction to the reaction, with a defence for Diego Costa offered, and Balotelli mooted to move to QPR. Plus a silly idea about the Mails...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company