Guardiola salutes returning Abidal
© AFP

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola today saluted French defender Eric Abidal as he returned to full training ahead of his side's UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg against Real Madrid at the Nou Camp barely six weeks on from surgery on a liver tumour.

"This is the news of the day," exclaimed a delighted Guardiola."Abi' can't play 90 minutes, he has lost weight. But he is in perfect health and he'll be able to help us," Guardiola told reporters.

This is the news of the day.
Barcelona coach Guardiola on Abidal's return

"His teammates are happy as 'Abi' is back and the people who come to the stadium will see him on the bench - or maybe even in the warm-up."

Abidal had the operation on 17 March, but looked in fine shape as he trained with his teammates. His return is a boon, particularly when La Liga champions-elect Barça, who lead 2-0 from the first leg, also have fellow defenders Maxwell and Adriano on the sidelines.