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Barcelona star Abidal returns to training after liver transplant

updated 10:04 AM EDT, Wed October 10, 2012
French defender Eric Abidal moved to Barcelona from Lyon in 2007.
French defender Eric Abidal moved to Barcelona from Lyon in 2007.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Barcelona defender Eric Abidal returns to training
  • The French left-back has been out for seven months following a liver transplant
  • Abidal has been at Barca since 2007 and has twice won the European Champions League
  • He was part of the French squad which lost to Italy in the 2006 World Cup final

(CNN) -- Barcelona defender Eric Abidal returned to training Wednesday after seven months on the sidelines following a liver transplant.

The 33-year-old was delighted to be back in action as he told the official website of the Catalan giants.

"I've been thinking about training will the ball for a long time," the 33-year-old said. "Today is the first day. I'm tired, but happy. I think from now on my path to recovery will go well."

The world of football was stunned when Abidal was diagnosed with a liver tumor in May 2011, but he made a remarkable recovery to reclaim his place in the first team squad at the Camp Nou.

But further complications arose in March which necessitated the transplant operation and another lengthy spell of rehabilitation.

Abidal, hugely popular with the Barca fans, began his career with Monaco before moving to Lille in 2002. It was after leaving Lille to join Lyon in 2004 that he rose to prominence.

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Following three French First Division triumphs Abidal moved to Barcelona in June 2007.

Since moving to Spain, Abidal has collected a host of honors.

He was a part of the Barca squad which won three consecutive La Liga titles between 2009 and 2011.

Abidal has collected a Cop del Rey winner's medal on two occasions and helped Barca clinch European Champions League glory in 2009 and 2011.

In addition to his achievements at club level, Abidal has collected 61 caps for France.

He was part of the Les Bleus squad which finished as runners-up at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

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