French soccer star Eric Abidal has had a rough couple of years. He was a starting defender with Spanish giants Barcelona, but came crashing down to earth after being diagnosed with liver cancer. He ultimately underwent a liver transplant last April, ruling him out of the 2012 European Championship and keeping him out of soccer for an entire year. He returned to make a few appearances for Barcelona before leaving to join Monaco this past summer.
Abidal admits to being sad to have left Barcelona. â€œThe problem was that my contract was coming to an end. In that case, either itâ€™s renewed, either it ends. I was prepared for both,â€ Abidal said in an interview with the French newspaper Lâ€™Equipe. â€œIt was hard to accept but you donâ€™t have the choice. The adventure with Barcelona is over, but Iâ€™m very happy to have started another one with Monaco.â€
But more startling was Abidalâ€™s account of his final days with Barcelona. â€œWhat was hard to understand was what Barcelona said during my last press conference. By saying that it was a professional choice, it made other clubs doubt,â€ Abidal said. â€œIt wasnâ€™t even a question of money. The proof being that all the months I was ill, the club didnâ€™t pay me. Now Iâ€™m lucky to have the trust of the Monaco coach and president. Touch wood, everythingâ€™s fine. But itâ€™s true that there was a time when I doubted myself.â€
More uplifting was Abidalâ€™s experience with one of his ex-teammates. Abidal revealed recently that his former Barcelona team-mate Dani Alves had offered him part of his liver when he needed a transplant last year. Abidal told Catalunya Radio that Dani Alves, â€œwanted to give me his liver but it couldnâ€™t beâ€ because it would have hurt the Brazillianâ€™s playing ability. Abidalâ€™s cousin ended up donating him part of his liver.â€The story with Dani goes beyond the jersey,â€ Abidal said. â€œHe knows it. Me too. We are friends and we talk about everything. He wanted to support me. And besides, heâ€™s a very good person. He was my neighbour and his ex-wife and my wife are friends.â€