It was announced on 30 May, 2013 that Eric Abidal would leave Barcelona and will not renew his contract. Abidal started his professional career with Monaco before moving to Lille and then Lyon in 2004; it was when he was at Lyon that his career really began. He made 107 appearances in all competitions for Lyon and was part of a team who won the league 3 times in a row. After winning 3 league titles in 3 years, he signed for Barcelona in 2007, where he had a release clause of €90million.
Over these past two years, Abidal has been blighted with illness. In 2011, Eric was diagnosed with a tumor in his liver and had to undergo surgery. It was last year, in 2012, where he had to undergo a liver transplant. Only over these past few months has Eric gained full fitness to play football again after winning his battle against this illness, but during this time, he has been replaced at left back by young Spanish star Jordi Alba. Eric is now 33 and will turn 34 in September, so everyone would understand his wishes if he would now go on and sign for another club before he retires.
Abidal has had a highly successful career at Barcelona, reaching an impressive 192 games in all competitions for the Catalans. He was also no stranger to picking up silverware as he achieved 15 honors while at the club, including 2 Champions League titles.
Here is Eric Abidal’s list of honors received at Barcelona:
- La Liga (4)
- Copa del Rey (2)
- Supercopa de España (3)
- Champions League (2)
- UEFA Super Cup (2)
- FIFA Club World Cup (2)
Barcelona players and staff do deserve the utmost of respect in their support for Abidal over these previous tough 2 years. As a Manchester United fan, it was a fantastic sight to see Eric Abidal lift the Champions League trophy in 2011 after their 3-1 win over Manchester United in the final.
Also, this year, Eric Abidal, along with coach Tito (who has had his own health problems), got to lift the La Liga trophy for the team who finished clear of Real Madrid by 15 points. On a number of occasions through his tough period with illness, Eric was chucked in the air by his team-mates and staff, which shows the care and closeness of this Barcelona team.
So where will be the next stop in Eric Abidal’s career? If Eric does continue on playing, there will be a number of clubs eager to have his experience, knowledge, and talent in the dressing room. Monaco could be interested, who themselves are trying to build a team to break into the Champions League. Eric Abidal was at Monaco from 2000-2002, so he does have history with the club. On a free transfer I don’t understand why they may not offer a 1 or 2 year contract, though it does depend if it appeals to Eric.
Eric does have the option to retire now and I’m sure Barcelona will offer him some role within the club if it involves coaching or in a ambassadorial sense. Keeping former players on at the club is an integral part of the future of the clubs success. We’ve seen many clubs opt for this policy, mainly Bayern Munich and Manchester United, who keep former players attached to the club in some sense. Bayern Munich who have former players such as Beckenbauer, Muller, Hoeneß, Nerlinger, Rummenigge, and Schwarzenbeck, while Manchester United have former players such as Charlton, Phelan, Law, McClair, Scholes, Robson, Neville, Schmeichel, Cole, and Butt.
Written by United Mancunian