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

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


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

think Finnegans Wake would have been a better reference point than Ulysses. Far more rambling and incomprehensible.

debra2927
Football People On TV: Garth Crooks

I

f I recall correctly, Degsy predicted a 100/1 shot correctly the week after his 150/1 Blackpool 4 - 3 Bolton call. I stuck a fiver on it as an idle bet. Paid for a stag do in Munich. Heady days...

baldini
Backing Hull To Beat United 2-1...

R

odgers prefers Joe Allen to Lucas? If this is true then I'm setting aside a fortnight to finally learn the rules of American Football and I'll give up on real football.

godzilla
The Jammy Gossip

Footer 365

Jose Mourinho eyes Premier League title defence with new additions

Jose Mourinho may freshen up his Chelsea squad with new faces as the club look to defend their Premier League title next season.

Hull suffer Premier League relegation as Newcastle beat West Ham

Hull City suffered relegation on a goal-laden final day in the Premier League after Newcastle secured a 2-0 victory over West Ham.

Hull 0-0 Manchester United: Steve Bruce's men suffer final-day relegation

Hull City were relegated from the Premier League after they drew 0-0 with Manchester United, who had Marouane Fellaini sent off.

Mail Box

Only One Real Manager Of The Year

Winning the Premier League with the best squad in the Premier League is only par; Ronald Koeman did a whole lot better. Plus, the last word on Raheem and...

Don't Slate Sterling For Ambition...

Raheem Sterling deserves credit for his desire to quit Liverpool, according to one mailboxer. Also: why football should not be compared to business and Degsy's latest spot of bother...

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