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Barca's Abidal needs liver transplant

  • AP, Thursday, March 15, 2012 3:14 PM

Barcelona announced Thursday that defender Eric Abidal will undergo a liver transplant in the coming weeks. The 32-year-old French international had a tumor removed from his liver a year ago, and returned to finish the season. He was chosen to lift the club’s fourth European Cup at Wembley Stadium after Barca beat Manchester United 3-1 in the Champions League final last May. He has played regularly this season and the announcement surprised his teammates.

“This is hard to take,” Barcelona captain Carles Puyol said. “But he’s in good spirits.”

On its Twitter feed the club said, "The transplant is an option that has been considered since the beginning of his treatment, one year ago."

Puyol said the squad found out about Abidal’s latest health scare just moments before starting Thursday’s training: “It was the worst surprise you could expect to hear. We spoke to him after that, and obviously what was said will remain between us. But when you see him, he is the one trying to motivate us. He’s very strong, as he showed last season, and he’ll show it once again. I’m sure he’ll beat this."

Abidal has been a regular with Barcelona since joining the team from Lyon in 2007. He injured his groin while playing a friendly for France two weeks ago.

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