Eric Sylvain Abidal is a former French footballer who excelled in the sport as a left back and a central defender.
Abidal won 21 major titles during an illustrated career during which he played for a variety of sides. His successes mainly came during his time at Lyon and FC Barcelona.
He won the UEFA Champions League on two occasions for FC Barcelona. However, the later part of his career was marked by his battle against liver disease and cancer which resulted in the player undergoing a liver transplant.
Abidal’s Barcelona teammate and friend Dani Alves, a Brazilian international, offered to be the donor. Alves would later go on to take Abidal’s No. 22 shirt at Barcelona following his transfer to Monaco.
The player’s youth career started with AS Lyon Duchere which was an amateur team in Lyon’s suburbs. He was spotted by scouts belonging to AS Monaco as his team defeated Nice in a Cup game. That led to a trial in February 2000, after which he was signed up by Monaco in June on a five-year-deal.
After eight appearances with the Monaco reserve side, he made his Ligue 1 debut for the principality side on September 16, 2000. Monaco won the match 3-0 against Toulouse.
However, Abidal would only make a total of 22 appearances for the team in his debut season in the top flight before signing for Lille for a couple of seasons. He would take his game to a new level under the tutelage of manager Claude Puel during his two seasons with Lille, for whom he made 62 appearances in two seasons.
In the summer of 2004, Abidal was signed up by his home side Lyon. Abidal played for Lyon for three seasons from 2004 to 2007. His first goal at top level came on November 10, 2004 as he scored in a 2-3 loss against his former club Lille in the Coupe de la Ligue.
His exploits for Lyon drew admiring glances from then Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard. Rijkaard convinced club president Joan Laporta to spend nine million Euros in order to seal Abidal’s transfer in the summer of 2007.
Abidal would go on to become a popular figure in the Barcelona dressing room during his stay with the Catalan giants. Barcelona finished third in the league in his debut season at the club after he had made his debut in a goalless draw against Racing Santander on August 26, 2007.
His second season at Barcelona saw the club win the treble in their first season under Pep Guardiola. However, Abidal missed the Champions League final to suspension and did not feature in the Copa del Rey final.
Abidal was harshly shown a red card in the Champions League semi-final against Chelsea for a foul on compatriot Nicolas Anelka as video replays showed that Anelka had made a meal out of very minimal contact.