Éric Abidal plays first match since transplant surgery | inside World Soccer

Barcelona defender Éric Abidal is one step closer to his first-team return after playing his first match since 2012 on Tuesday.

Éric Abidal is seen playing in a friendly game with Barcelona B against Istres
Éric Abidal is seen playing in a friendly game with Barcelona B against Istres

Photo: fcbarcelona.com

Abidal was diagnosed with a liver tumour back in March 2011, but the 33-year-old made a miraculous comeback only months later to help Barcelona win the Champions League.

However, the Frenchman was dealt another blow early in 2012 as he underwent a liver transplant in April last year.

Abidal had since been working on his recovery process, and is now one step closer to making his first-team comeback after featuring for Barcelona B in a friendly match against French Ligue 2 outfit Istres on Tuesday.

The former Olympique Lyon defender played for 65 minutes of the game at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper.

This was the first time Abidal has appeared in anything other than training session games since receiving medical clearance on February 21.

"The player is gradually reaching the same level as his teammates," Dr Ricard Pruna told the club's website.

"We can't say exactly when he'll be back, but he is in a very positive mood because he knows it won't be much longer.

"I don't think it'll be long before he's named in the squad. It depends on the coaches, but we're not far off."


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