Eric Abidal

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Eric Abidal
Eric Abidal - 001.jpg
Abidal in training with Barcelona in 2008
Personal information
Full nameEric Sylvain Abidal [1]
Date of birth (1979-09-11) 11 September 1979 (age 39)
Place of birth Saint-Genis-Laval, France
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Defender
Youth career
Lyon Duchère
Senior career*
1999–2000 Lyon Duchère
2000–2001 Monaco B 8 (0)
2000–2002 Monaco 22 (0)
2002–2004 Lille 62 (0)
2004–2007 Lyon 76 (0)
2007–2013 Barcelona 125 (0)
2013–2014 Monaco 26 (0)
2014 Olympiacos 9 (0)
National team
2004–2013 France 67 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Eric Sylvain Abidal (French pronunciation:  [eʁik abidal] ; born 11 September 1979) is a French former professional footballer who played as a left back or a central defender, and is the director of football of FC Barcelona.

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

Director of football

A director of football is a senior management figure at an association football team most commonly in Europe. The exact nature of the role is often unclear and causes much debate in the sports media.

FC Barcelona association football club in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Futbol Club Barcelona, commonly referred to as Barcelona and colloquially known as Barça, is a Spanish professional football club based in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.


In his career, he played mainly for Lyon and Barcelona, winning 18 titles with both teams combined including two Champions League trophies with the latter. His later career was marked by liver disease, resulting in a transplant.

Olympique Lyonnais French association football club based in Lyon

Olympique Lyonnais, commonly referred to as simply Lyon or OL, is a French football club based in Lyon. It plays in France's highest football division, Ligue 1. The club was formed as Lyon Olympique Universitaire in 1899, according to many supporters and sport historians, but was nationally established as a club in 1950. The club's most successful period has been the 21st century. The club won its first Ligue 1 championship in 2002, starting a national record-setting streak of seven successive titles. Lyon has also won a record seven Trophée des Champions, five Coupe de France titles and three Ligue 2 titles.

UEFA Champions League European association football tournament for clubs

The UEFA Champions League is an annual club football competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and contested by top-division European clubs. It is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world and the most prestigious club competition in European football, played by the national league champions of the strongest UEFA national associations.

Liver transplantation medical procedure

Liver transplantation or hepatic transplantation is the replacement of a diseased liver with the healthy liver from another person (allograft). Liver transplantation is a treatment option for end-stage liver disease and acute liver failure, although availability of donor organs is a major limitation. The most common technique is orthotopic transplantation, in which the native liver is removed and replaced by the donor organ in the same anatomic position as the original liver. The surgical procedure is complex, requiring careful harvest of the donor organ and meticulous implantation into the recipient. Liver transplantation is highly regulated, and only performed at designated transplant medical centers by highly trained transplant physicians and supporting medical team. The duration of the surgery ranges from 4 to 18 hours depending on outcome. Favorable outcomes require careful screening for eligible recipient, as well as a well-calibrated live or cadaveric donor match.

A French international across nine years, Abidal represented the nation in two World Cupsfinishing second in 2006 – and Euro 2008.

France national football team mens national association football team representing France

The France national football team represents France in international football and is controlled by the French Football Federation, also known as FFF, or in French: Fédération française de football. The team's colours are blue, white and red, and the coq gaulois its symbol. France are colloquially known as Les Bleus. The French side are the reigning World Cup holders, having won the 2018 FIFA World Cup on 15 July 2018.

FIFA World Cup association football competition for mens national teams

The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The current champion is France, which won its second title at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

2006 FIFA World Cup 18th FIFA World Cup, held in Germany in 2006

The 2006 FIFA World Cup was the 18th FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial international football world championship tournament. It was held from 9 June to 9 July 2006 in Germany, which won the right to host the event in July 2000. Teams representing 198 national football associations from all six populated continents participated in the qualification process which began in September 2003. Thirty-one teams qualified from this process, along with the host nation, Germany, for the finals tournament. It was the second time that Germany staged the competition, and the tenth time that it was held in Europe.

Club career

Early career

Born in Saint-Genis-Laval, Lyon Metropolis, Abidal started playing with AS Lyon Duchère, an amateur team in the suburbs. He started his professional career with AS Monaco FC, [2] making his Ligue 1 debut on 16 September 2000 in a 3–0 home win against Toulouse FC but only appearing in 22 league matches over the course of two full seasons.

Saint-Genis-Laval Commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Saint-Genis-Laval is a commune in the metropolis of Lyon in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of eastern France.

Lyon Metropolis Metropolitan regions in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Metropolitan Lyon, also known as Grand Lyon, is a French territorial collectivity located in the east-central region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Encompassing the city of Lyon and most of its suburbs, it has jurisdiction as both a department and a métropole, taking the territory out of the purview of the department of Rhône.

AS Monaco FC professional association football club based in Monaco

Association sportive de Monaco football club, commonly referred to as AS Monaco or Monaco, is a Monégasque football club that competes in Ligue 1, the top tier of French football. Founded in 1924, the team plays its home matches at the Stade Louis II in Fontvieille. The club is coached by Leonardo Jardim and captained by Radamel Falcao.

Abidal transferred to fellow league club Lille OSC for 2002–03, [3] reuniting with former manager Claude Puel [2] and being first-choice during his spell. Subsequently, he returned to his native region and joined Olympique Lyonnais. [3]

Lille OSC Lille Olympic Sporting Club - French association football club

LOSC Lille is a French association football club based in Lille. The club was founded in 1944 as a result of a merger and play in Ligue 1, the first division of French football. Lille has played its home matches since 2012 at Stade Pierre-Mauroy in nearby Villeneuve d'Ascq, which replaced the club's previous home of Stade Lille-Metropole in the same community.

For the 2002–03 season, the French Division 1 was renamed as Ligue 1 and was expanded to contain 20 clubs, which played 38 matches against each other, rather than the 34 matches in previous seasons. Lyon won the 2002–03 Ligue 1 season of the French Association Football League with 68 points.

Claude Puel French association football player and manager

Claude Jacques Puel is a French football manager and former player. He spent his entire playing career with AS Monaco, before becoming manager of the club, leading them to the league title in his first full season in charge. He has also managed Lille, Lyon, Nice, Southampton, and Leicester City.


During his later years in France, where he won three consecutive national championships – of the seven the team won – Abidal's confidence was shown when Lyon played Manchester United and he was in charge of marking Cristiano Ronaldo: "As a defender, my aim is to infuriate the opponent," he explained. "I want him to be so sick of the sight of me that he has to move somewhere else on the pitch to get away." [4] His defensive teammates at L'OL included François Clerc, Grégory Coupet and Anthony Réveillère, as well as Brazilian internationals Caçapa and Cris. [5] [6]

Manchester United F.C. Association football club

Manchester United Football Club is a professional football club based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England, that competes in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. Nicknamed "the Red Devils", the club was founded as Newton Heath LYR Football Club in 1878, changed its name to Manchester United in 1902 and moved to its current stadium, Old Trafford, in 1910.

Cristiano Ronaldo Portuguese association football player

Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos AveiroGOIH ComM is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays as a forward for Italian club Juventus and captains the Portugal national team. Often considered the best player in the world and widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Ronaldo has a record-tying five Ballon d'Or awards, the most for a European player, and is the first player to win four European Golden Shoes. He has won 28 trophies in his career, including six league titles, five UEFA Champions League titles and one UEFA European Championship. A prolific goalscorer, Ronaldo holds the records for most official goals scored in the UEFA Champions League (126), the UEFA European Championship (9), as well as those for most assists in the UEFA Champions League (34) and the UEFA European Championship (6). He has scored over 700 senior career goals for club and country.

François Clerc French association football player

François Jacques Clerc is a French retired footballer who played as a right back.

On 10 November 2004, Abidal scored the first goal of his career, in a 2–3 loss at former club Lille for the season's Coupe de la Ligue round-of-32. As a result of his exploit, his parents agreed to get married after a 35-year union. [7]

Abidal missed the first months of the 2005–06 campaign after fracturing his metatarsus in a friendly game with Once Caldas. [8] He still managed to appear in 15 matches as Lyon won its fifth national championship in a row [9] (the second with the player).


Abidal (far right) playing against Real Madrid. Forcejeo Real Madrid - FC Barcelona.jpg
Abidal (far right) playing against Real Madrid.
Abidal (center) with Jeffren Suarez (left) and Bojan Krkic during a training session with Barcelona. Jeffren-Abidal-Bojan.jpg
Abidal (center) with Jeffrén Suárez (left) and Bojan Krkić during a training session with Barcelona.

On 29 June 2007, Abidal signed a four-year contract with FC Barcelona for 9 million, after repeatedly stating that he would not return to training with Lyon if he was not allowed to move. [10] He was given the number 22 jersey, as the number 20 he wore at Lyon was already taken by Deco; club president Joan Laporta also mentioned that his contract contained a €90 million release clause, and that Lyon would receive an extra €500,000 if Barcelona won the UEFA Champions League in any of the following four seasons. [11]

Abidal made his La Liga debut on 26 August 2007 in a 0–0 away draw against Racing de Santander, [12] [13] and completed his first season with 30 games as Barça finished in third place in the league. [14] He missed the 2009 Champions League Final against Manchester United after picking up a red card in the semi-final against Chelsea: the referee deemed Abidal to have fouled countryman Nicolas Anelka and denying a scoring opportunity, although video evidence suggested that any contact was minimal; [15] again through suspension [16] he also did not dress up for the decisive match of the Copa del Rey, [17] as the team won the treble. [18]

In 2009–10, Abidal continued to be the starter for the Pep Guardiola-led side, even after the arrival of Maxwell from Inter Milan. He scored his first goal on 5 January 2011, netting at the San Mamés Stadium in the Spanish Cup round-of-16 second leg (1–1 away draw, away goals rule qualification). [19]

Abidal during the 2009 Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi. Abidal vs Atlante.JPG
Abidal during the 2009 Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi.

On 18 January 2012, Abidal scored his second goal for Barcelona, also in the domestic cup, helping the visitors come from behind to win it 2–1 at Real Madrid (eventually 4–3 on aggregate). [20] He renewed his contract early into the following month, keeping him at the Camp Nou until 30 June 2013, [21] but on 30 May of that year it was announced that the club would not further extend it. [22] [23]

Health issues

On 15 March 2011, Barcelona announced that Abidal had been diagnosed with a tumour in his liver, and the player underwent surgery two days later. [24] Citing privacy concerns as wished by the player, the club did not release additional information in regards to his condition. [25] In response to the announcement, players and fans around the world dedicated well wishes to him on various social networking service and sports websites. [26] [27]

Before their round-of-16 match in the Champions League, both Real Madrid and Lyon players took the pitch wearing Ánimo Abidal (Get Well Abidal) T-shirts, with the same message being displayed on the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium's scoreboards, in a show of support and solidarity. [28] [29] During Barcelona's match with Getafe CF on 19 March 2011, the fans at the stadium clapped for the entire 22nd minute (the player's shirt number). [30] On 28 May 2011, in the Champions League Final against Manchester United, he played the full 90 minutes of Barcelona's 3–1 triumph and, in a gesture to mark his recovery, Carles Puyol handed him his captain's armband and allowed him to be the first to lift the trophy in front of 85,000 people at Wembley Stadium in London. [31]

On 15 March 2012, it was announced that Abidal would have to undergo a liver transplant because of problems which were unresolved with the previous operation. [32] On 10 April he underwent surgery, with his cousin Gérard being the donor. [33] On the same day Barcelona beat Getafe 4–0, and the victory was dedicated to the player in the post-game press conference; [34] [35] he later revealed that his friend and teammate Dani Alves offered to donate part of his liver for the transplant, but he denied because it would have affected the latter's playing career. [36]

On 21 May 2012, Abidal was released from hospital to resume the recovery process at his home, [37] and doctors revealed that he could still play football in the near future if he wished. [38] He returned to training in the Pyrenees in October 2012 [39] but, the following month, he stated that his priority was a return to full health rather than resuming his football career. [40]

On 18 December 2012, Abidal was given the green light to start training again, [41] and he returned to active in January of the following year. On 19 March of the following year he played 65 minutes for FC Barcelona B in a practice match with FC Istres, [42] and on 6 April he returned to official play, replacing Gerard Piqué for the last 20 minutes of a 5–0 home win against RCD Mallorca. [43] [44] Two weeks later he played the full 90 minutes for the first time since his comeback, featuring in a 1–0 home success over Levante UD. [45]

Monaco return

On 8 July 2013, 33-year-old Abidal returned to Monaco after more than one decade, signing for one season with the option of a further one. [46] After helping the principality team secure a place in the Champions League in his debut campaign, he agreed to a one-year contract extension. [47]


On 5 July 2014, two days after renewing his link to Monaco, Abidal signed a two-year contract with Olympiacos FC. [48] On 19 December, however, he retired from the game for personal reasons. [49]

Return to Barcelona

Abidal returned to Barcelona in June 2018, replacing Roberto Fernández as the club's director of football. [50] [51]

International career

Abidal earned 67 caps for the France national team, [52] his debut coming on 18 August 2004 in a friendly with Bosnia and Herzegovina. [4] [52] He was selected for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, playing all the games and minutes in the country's runner-up campaign as left back, with the exception of France's match against Togo, from which he was suspended [53] after earning two yellow cards in the first two games. [54] [55] In the final against Italy, he scored his penalty shootout attempt. [56]

Again under Raymond Domenech, Abidal was first-choice during the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign. In the final stages he appeared against Italy as a centre-back, but conceded a penalty and was sent off in the first half of an eventual 0–2 loss and group stage exit. [57] He played against Uruguay and Mexico in the 2010 World Cup again at centre-back, [58] [59] opting out of the next game against host country South Africa [60] as the French side again left the competition after only three matches. [61]

Style of play

Abidal was a tactically intelligent and versatile defender, capable of featuring as a centre or left back due to his positional sense and his ability to read the game. In his prime, he was also quick and strong which, along with his technical ability and distribution, allowed him run up the wing to assist his team offensively as well as defensively. [62] [63]

Personal life

Abidal married former gymnast Hayet Kebir in 2003, fathering children Méliana, Canélia, Leyna, Kenya and Edan. [64] [65] [66] After his wedding, he converted to Islam. [64]

Career statistics


[67] [68]

ClubSeasonLeagueCup [nb 1] Europe [nb 2] Total
Monaco B 2000–01 Championnat National 2 8080
Monaco 2000–01 Ligue 1 801090
2001–02 14030170
Lille 2002–03 Ligue 127030300
2003–04 35031381
Lyon 2004–05 Ligue 12905170411
2005–06 1402060220
2006–07 3304170441
Barcelona 2007–08 La Liga 30060100460
2008–09 2502050320
2009–10 17040100310
2010–11 2607180411
2011–12 2207190381
2012–13 50000050
Monaco 2013–14 Ligue 1 2603000290
Olympiacos 2014–15 Superleague 900060150
Career totals32804956904465



    National teamYearAppsGoals
    France 200410


    Abidal signing autographs at the Camp Nou Abidal Barcelona.jpg
    Abidal signing autographs at the Camp Nou








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