BARCELONA // Eric Abidal, the Barcelona defender, has been diagnosed with a liver tumour and will undergo surgery on Friday.
The Spanish club made the announcement late last night and gave no indication on how long the France international will be sidelined.
Abidal received various messages of support from teammates and opponents alike through Twitter.
"I'd like to show all my affection and support for Eric Abidal from here. I'm confident everything will be all right," Barcelona playmaker Andres Iniesta wrote. "He deserves it, he's a great guy!"
Real Madrid's Kaka also wrote: "What sad news about Eric Abidal, tumour in the liver! Let's all pray for him ... God Bless!"
The 31-year-old Abidal joined Barcelona at the beginning of the 2007-2008 season.
He has been a key figure for Barcelona this season, playing 33 games and filling in recently at centre back for the injured Carles Puyol.
League leaders Barcelona are five points ahead of Real Madrid in the Primera Liga.