Monaco full-back Eric Abidal has said that his old Barcelona teammate Dani Alves offered to donate the Frenchman his liver when Abidal needed a transplant 18 months ago.
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 in March 2012.
As a tribute to Abidal, who was surprisingly not offered a new contract by Barca at the end of last season, Alves has changed his squad number from two to Abidal’s old number 22 this season.
However, the 34-year-old has revealed their friendship went even much further than public displays of support.
“My relationship with Dani goes much further than him taking my old number 22 shirt,” he told Catalunya radio. “When I had to undergo surgery, he wanted to donate his liver. Logically, he couldn’t because he is a professional footballer. Our relationship goes much deeper than friendship.”
In another recent interview Abidal caused controversy by saying that Barcelona hadn’t paid him whilst he had been ill. Those allegations were denied by the club who said they had fulfilled all their contractual obligations to the player. Abidal admitted there had been a misunderstanding and that he will most likely return to the club to work with their football development team once he has finished playing.
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. His playing contract was then reactivated when he returned to training with the first team.
“I don’t have any problems with Barca. It was all signed, what they said was true and what I said was true.”