By Alan Duffy
French defender Eric Abidal made a tearful goodbye to his club Barcelona at a press conference on Thursday after the Catalan club decided not to extend his contract past the end of this season (there’s still one game to go in La Liga).
The 33-year-old had battled back from a liver tumour which resulted in the player undergoing a liver transplant and had returned to competitive action in April. However, with the Barcelona hierarchy eager to revitalise their ageing backline, Abidal has been let go.
“Football for me is a passion since I was a child. I don’t see myself quitting now. I have made all this effort to come back to play football. My health is better now. When my body tells me to stop I will hang up the boots.”
“I would have liked to keep on playing here, but the club sees it differently and I have to respect that.”
Abidal shakes hands with his teammates at the press conference
The club itself has not, as yet, given their reasons for parting company with the left-sided defender, who has spent six highly successful seasons at the Camp Nou.
However, a return to the club in a coaching capacity, after his playing career ends, looks likely with Abidal adding:
“I am going but I am sure that I will be back. I have a very interesting offer from the club that I will have to think about.”
A fine player with bags of experience (and trophies) under his belt, would he be a decent addition to a Premier League squad for a year or so?