Football: Barca’s Abidal due for liver transplant Tuesday – club
Barcelona's French international Eric Abidal was scheduled to undergo a liver transplant Tuesday, a club spokesman said without confirming whether the operation had begun.
“I confirm that the operation was scheduled for today but I don’t know whether it has started,” the Barcelona spokesman told AFP.
“We have not received any information to the contrary. We are in the hands of the doctors, waiting to see what they will say.”
Barcelona announced March 15 that the 32-year-old defender would have a liver transplant “in the coming weeks”, nearly a year after the player had a tumor removed from the same organ.
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 the June 8-July 1 Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine.
The director of Spain’s National Transplant Organisation, Rafael Matesanz, has said it would be “very difficult” for Abidal to play again after undergoing a transplant.
“It’s clear that everything should 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,” he told sports daily Marca last month.
“He 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.”
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 on May 3 in the final minutes of Barca’s return 1-1 Champions League semi-final tie with Real Madrid.
The defender has been a regular this season for the Catalan side, starting in 20 first division matches.
But he has not played since picking up a hip injury playing for France in their friendly win over Germany at the start of March.
Abidal’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.