Barcelona have reopened contract extension negotiations with Muslim left-back Eric Abidal. This was reported by Barcelonaâ€™s sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta earlier this week. Just four months ago, Abidal was fighting for his life after a tumor was discovered in his liver. He subsequently underwent surgery in March to have the tumor removed. And he was able to recover so remarkably quickly that he was able to return to action on May 3rd. And he even made an appearance in Barcelonaâ€™s Champions League final win over Manchester United later that month.
Abidal was born in Lyon, France, but is of Martinique descent. Before joining Barcelona in 2007 he played for Lyon and Lille in France, and Monaco before that. He has 55 caps for the French national squad, having made his international debut in August of 2004. He most recently played center back for France in their disappointing 2010 World Cup campaign.
Currently, Abidal only has one year remaining on his current contract, and Barcelona appears eager to retain the 32-year-old defenderâ€™s services. â€œWe made Abidal the offer of a new contract before his illness,â€ said Zubizarreta during a press conference. â€œDiscussions have started again and we will try to come to an agreement. It will take time but we hope that we can conclude a deal and make an announcement soon.â€
Reports in the Spanish press are that Barcelona had initially offered Abidal the two-year deal that he wanted, only to withdraw the offer and come back with a proposal to give him a rolling one-year contract instead. Such rumors could make for a contentious negotiating environment, but both sides seem to have avoided stirring controversy. â€œEric has stated on numerous occasions that he wants to stay at Barcelona and finish his career at the club,â€ the playerâ€™s agent David Venditelli told Catalan television station TV3 last month.