Barcelona director: I thought Eric Abidal’s return was impossible

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Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta reveals that he feared the worst for Eric Abidal, and is overjoyed to see the defender back in action.

The Frenchman received a standing ovation as he made his long awaited return, coming on as a 70th minute substitute in Barca’s 5-0 win over Mallorca on Saturday night, 14 months after receiving a liver transplant.

And the Catalan director has described the moment as emotional and “good for life in general”, indicating that he was worried that the day would never come.

"Six months ago I would have thought it impossible to see his return," Zubizarreta told AS. "This is good for football and for life in general. It shows that you can beat these diseases.

"These battles are very complicated and we must give everyone in these situations our full support. He [Abidal] remembered his cousin, who was the one who donated part of his liver, and the medical profession, but the credit is his for his great pleasure."

After the game the 33-year-old defender revealed that he was wearing a top that contained a thank you message to his cousin who donated part of his liver that helped Abidal to fight his disease.

Zubizarreta went on to speak about the side’s current defensive problems but insisted that they have plenty of options to cope with current injuries.

He added: "We will play with what we have [in defence] and use the creativity of our coaches, we must have calm.”

The comeback of Eric Abidal coincides with the return of coach Tito Vilanova and will surely give Barca a massive boost as they look to reclaim the La Liga title and win the Champions League for the fifth time. 

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