Puyol: Abidal will battle back
The club confirmed this afternoon the France defender would have a transplant in the coming weeks, a year after having liver surgery to remove a tumour. They did not give any indication how long the 32-year-old would be out of action for.
Abidal underwent surgery almost a year ago to the day and was out for just seven weeks, returning to the team for the end-of-season run-in with a number of substitute appearances, although his only start was in the UEFA Champions League final victory over Manchester United when he was given the honour of lifting the trophy. The squad were told the latest news at training today.
"We had a meeting minutes before going on to the pitch," Spain defender Puyol said. "It was a rude awakening. Eric was at the meeting. We then talked to him, and logically that stays in the dressing room."
Puyol claimed Abidal was in good spirits. "It is him who encourages us. His attitude is an example," he added. "We are confident that he will come out of this. We will give him all the strength we have and we will support him and his family. I am convinced that soon he will be fine.
"He is very strong, he showed that last season and will prove it again. It's a major blow. We had the news last season and now we get it again. But this will make us even stronger."
Abidal has been a first-team regular this season, starting 20 Primera Division games, although he has not played since suffering what was described as a hip injury playing for France in their friendly win over Germany at the start of the month.
Another of Abidal's team-mates, Gerard Pique, also backed the Frenchman to return stronger than ever. He posted on his Twitter account: "And you will return as always, still the best! You are an example for all! # animoabidal.''
The Catalan giants have 12 games left to play this season in the Primera Division and are through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.