Eric Abidal announces retirement

Barcelona players show their appreciation of Abidal by throwing him in the air as he plays his last game in 2013 (©GettyImages)

Former Barcelona star Eric Abidal has announced his decision to retire from professional football, following a prestigious career that was unfortunately affected by health issues during the latter stages. 

During his time with Barcelona, which is where Abidal spent the most part of his career, the former France international won four La Liga titles and two Champions League.

The 35-year-old was playing for Olympiacos this season, before making the decision to leave the game.

"I have had a lot of very happy moments in my career," he said.

"Two months ago I talked with the president and told him, 'In December I will leave because the time has come'."


In 2011, the Frenchman had a tumour removed from his liver, which put him on the sidelines for a while, however he was back much sooner than expected, playing football again before the end of the same season. 

The lengthier absence for the ex-Lyon man came the following year though, when the Catalan club confirmed that he required a liver transplant. 

As a result, Abidal was sidelined for a further year, before receiving the all clear to play again in April 2013. He then left Barcelona, who had been very supportive during his time on the sidelines, to join former club Monaco.

Barca right-back Dani Alves took on the number 22 shirt following Abidal's departure, and it was later revealed that Alves offered to give his liver to his teammate - however, it was Abidal's cousin that did eventually give his liver to the player. 


Before Abidal was diagnosed in 2011, he had achieved many fantastic things, predominantly with Barcelona. 

In 2008/09 season, he won the league, cup and Champions League treble with Barca, before winning the latter of those tournaments again in 2011, beating Manchester United in the final.

Following his return for this match, Abidal was handed the captain's armband by Carlos Puyol, which allowed him to lift the trophy.

He also helped France to reach the final of the World Cup in 2006, and was capped an impressive 67 times for his country.

"One of the best memories is when you lift a trophy but the best moment is passing from the amateur level to become a professional footballer," he added.

"Your dreams are coming true and then you have to work every day to remain a professional player.

"It was a very great moment in my career.

"In football you have positive moments and negative moments and when a negative moment occurs, you have to be determined.

"I used football to forget my illness and at an emotional level, this moment was even greater than lifting a trophy."


Whilst Abidal is focused on going home to rest with his family in the near future, he reveals that he has been offered non-playing roles from both Olympiacos and Barcelona, which he will evaluate in coming months. 

"I will relax with my family and my friends. I have two offers, from Olympiacos and Barcelona, and I will think about these and take my decision," he said.

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