London: Eric Abidal has said that former Barcelona teammate Dani Alves offered him part of his liver when he needed a transplant last year, but was unable to because it would have affected his game.
The defender, who had a liver transplant in April 2012, said Alves “wanted to give me his liver, but it couldn’t be”.
Abidal was first diagnosed with a tumour on his liver in March 2011 and after briefly returning to the first team, was ruled out of the game for over a year to undergo the transplant.
As a tribute to Abidal, who was surprisingly not offered a new contract by Barca at the end of the last season, Alves has changed his squad number from two to Abidal’s old number 22 this season.
The 34-year-old France defender’s cousin donated part of his liver instead.
“The story with Dani goes beyond the jersey,” Abidal told Catalunya Radio. “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 had a liver transplant last April, ruling him out of the 2012 European Championships and keeping him away from football for a year. He returned to make a few appearances for Barcelona before leaving to join Monaco in the summer.
The veteran defender also said in his statement to the French press that he was upset with his treatment by Barcelona when they decided not to renew his contract was a “misunderstanding”. Abidal had told a sports daily that Barcelona had not paid his salary while he was ill. Barcelona denied that in a statement.
“I have no problem with Barcelona. 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.”
In the period when Abidal needed the transplant and then during his recovery period, his playing contract was suspended by mutual consent, although he did continue to receive monthly payments from the club. (Agencies)