x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Abidal aiming to return for Barcelona by end of year after transplant

The French defender has been out of action since undergoing a liver transplant in April, but hopes to be back in action at the Nou Camp before the end of the year.

Eric Abidal and Lionel Messi exchange greetings during a warm-up with Barcelona before the player's liver transplant.
Eric Abidal and Lionel Messi exchange greetings during a warm-up with Barcelona before the player's liver transplant.

Barcelona defender Eric Abidal is hopeful of a return to action before the end of the year.

The 61-cap France international has been out of action since undergoing a liver transplant in April, having undergone treatment on a tumour last year.

He recovered from the original treatment before the end of the 2010-11 season and lifted the Champions League trophy after Barca's victory over Manchester United, and was cleared to do so again by his doctors.

Abidal told the club's official website: "I have started working in the gym and I feel fine. I will keep progressing and see if I can play before December.

"I'm better than three months ago. I am following the guidelines that the doctors have given me and the truth is I feel fine.

"I travel and enjoy being around the team and that environment."

Barca have signed Spain international Jordi Alba to operate in Abidal's usual left-back position, although the 32-year-old's versatility also allows him to play in central defence should new coach Tito Vilanova wish to use the pair in the same line-up.