French Muslim footballer Eric Abidal is awaiting a liver transplant according to his professional club Barcelona. His head coach Pep Guardiola said he was confident that Abidal will return to the pitch after a scheduled liver transplant, calling the player â€œirreplaceableâ€. â€œHe knows he has all our support because he is much-loved,â€ Gaurdiola told reporters after practice. â€œWhat really matters right now is to find a solution to this illness so he can get on with his life. He has to fight and he will do it. I am sure he will return. Not having him available to play is not what is important. He is irreplaceable for us. We donâ€™t have a substitute. He gives us an infinite range of possibilities.â€
Barcelona announced on Thursday that Abidal would have a liver translant â€œin the coming weeksâ€, nearly a year after the player had a tumor removed from the same organ. Abidal made a rapid recovery after undergoing surgery to remove a tumor from his liver in March 2011 and drew loud cheers as he made a symbolic return May 3 in the final minutes of Barcaâ€™s return 1-1 Champions League semi-final tie with Real Madrid.
Spanish organ transplant specialist Rafael Matesanz had earlier told the Marca newspaper that it would be â€œvery difficultâ€ for Abidal to play again. â€œItâ€™s clear that everything will go well and that he could play sport at a high level but football is a contact sport and one of the things that you have to avoid after a transplant is trauma and blows in that area,â€ he was quoted as saying. Matesanz said Abidal was â€œa strong person, an elite sportsman and he will have a normal life. And itâ€™s clear that he will be able to play sportâ€. But he added: â€œHe has to take a series of precautions for the rest of his life, including not getting hit in that area. He will have medical treatment for life and will have to have regular check-ups.â€
France national coach Laurent Blanc seemed more concerned about Abidalâ€™s health and his family life. â€œItâ€™s not the thing thatâ€™s uppermost in my mind at the moment,â€ he said. â€œAt times like these, thereâ€™s not a great deal you can say. Itâ€™s sad news for Eric… it goes beyond football,â€ Blanc told the French Football Federationâ€™s web site.
The club did not give any indication of how long he would be out of action but the operation puts him in doubt for the French team in this summerâ€™s Euro 2012 championships in Poland and Ukraine. Abidalâ€™s contract had been due to expire at the end of the current season but in January he agreed a new one-year deal with Barcelona which ties him to the club until 2013 with options to extend it by two more years. He has been a regular on defense this season for Barca, starting in 20 first division matches. But he has not played since injuring his hip playing for France in exhibition win over Germany in early March. Our duas certainly go out to brother Eric for a speedy recovery.