Éric Abidal, who has been with the club for five seasons, turns 33 today. Here’s wishing him a very Happy Birthday!
Abidal, born in Lyon, started playing with AS Lyon Duchère before starting his professional career with AS Monaco FC in 2000. He then moved to Lille OSC where he spent 2 season from 2002 to 2004. He then joined his hometown club Olympique Lyon. In the summer of 2007, Abidal joined FC Barcelona on a four-year deal as a replacement for Dutch left-back Giovanni van Bronckhorst. Abidal was a starter in the French national team even before he joined the Catalan club and cemented his place after the move.
Abidal has played an important role in the team’s successes and was the undisputed starter at the left-back position. Unfortunately, on 15 March 2011, he was diagnosed with a tumor in his liver, and underwent surgery two days later. He received well wishes from all over the footballing world, from his teammates to club members to even rivals who sported T-shirts in support of him. During Barcelona’s match against Getafe CF on 19 March 2011, the fans at the stadium clapped for the entire 22nd minute (the player’s shirt number).
Abidal made a heroic return to football and on 28 May, during the Champions League final against Manchester United, he played the full 90 minutes in the 3–1 triumph and, in a gesture to mark his recovery, Carles Puyol handed him his captain’s armband and allowed him to lift the trophy in front of 85,000 people at Wembley Stadium in London.
On 15 March 2012, it was announced that Abidal would have to undergo a liver transplant because of problems which were unresolved with the previous operation. On 10 April, he underwent surgery. On 21 May, Abidal was released from hospital to resume the recovery process at his home. On 1 June, doctors revealed that he could still play football in the near future if he wishes.
Tito Vilanova, the coach, has said “If you feel strong and if you’re willing, we will wait as long as we have to [for your return]. Your struggle is our source of strength.” Sandro Rosell, the club president has said, “We love you and we’re waiting for you, Éric.”
Every culé loves him and waiting for his return. Here’s wishing King Éric, a Happy Birthday!
Source: fcbarcelona.cat Image: FCB