Xavi heartened by Abidal strength
Barcelona midfielder Xavi has described the news of team-mate Eric Abidal's liver tumour as "the worst moment I've experienced in a dressing room", but also hailed the Frenchman's mental strength and positive attitude ahead of his operation.
Barça announced the news about Abidal's tumour last night and the 31-year-old defender will go under the knife tomorrow. Messages of support have been pouring in for the France international and Xavi said this afternoon: "It's the worst moment I've experienced in a dressing room. It's a very sad day for all of us. These are difficult times for him and his family."
Abidal met his Barça team-mates at training this morning and Xavi heaped praise on the former Lyon player for his attitude, saying: "He's always been an example for the dressing room, not only football-wise, but of attitude. Mentally he is one the strongest people I've met and this is going to help him a lot.
"When he came into training we gave him all the encouragement in the world. His mood surprised us, he's almost given us more encouragement than we have him, that shows his mental strength. He is an example of positivity. He told us to continue as always and that on Saturday we beat Getafe. We will try to dedicate a victory to him and his family."
Since news of his tumour emerged late on Tuesday, he has been showered with praise and words of support from his colleagues, as well as from his opponents. "I hope that everything will be fine for Abidal and that he will return soon," said Real star Cristiano Ronaldo.
"I want to show all my affection and support for Eric Abidal. I'm sure everything will be okay," his Barcelona team-mate, FIFA World Cup™ winner Andres Iniesta, said on his Facebook page.
Abidal joined Barcelona from Lyon in 2007 and has been capped 52 times by France.