Eric Abidal has revealed that his former Barcelona team-mate Dani Alves had offered to donate part of his liver to the Frenchman when he required a transplant last year.
Speaking to Catalunya Radio about the ordeal, Abidal said that Alves “wanted to give me his liver but it couldn't be" due to the impact it would have on the Brazilian’s own chances of continuing his professional career. Abidal’s cousin eventually donated part of his liver to the France international, who is now playing for AS Monaco in Ligue 1.
"The story with Dani goes beyond the jersey," Abidal said. "He knows it. Me too. We are friends and we talk about everything. He wanted to support me. And besides, he's a very good person. He was my neighbour and his ex-wife and my wife are friends."
Abidal needed the liver transplant in 2012 having missed over a year of football, returning towards the end of Barcelona’s successful La Liga campaign to make a few appearances before leaving the club.
The current Monaco captain has also said that his statement to the French media that he was upset with his departure from the Spanish club was a “misunderstanding”, having been quoted in L’Equipe to have claimed the club hadn’t paid his salary while he was ill. The Spanish champions denied the claim in an official statement.
"I have no problem with Barcelona," Abidal said on Sunday. "Everything was agreed to and what Barca said was true and what I said was also true. There isn't any problem. Not with [president] Sandro Rosell, not with [sports director Andoni] Zubizarreta, not with [former coach Tito] Vilanova, not with the fans. Everything is fine. I will return to Barcelona with the same joy I have always had."
The 34-year-old has made 64 appearances for his country, and he has said that he intends to take up Barcelona’s offer to return as director of their football schools once he has retired from the game. His return to Monaco – for whom he played between 2000 and 2002 – is on a one-year deal with the option of a second, while his shirt number at Barcelona has been given to Alves, who switches from his usual number 2 to 22.