Eric Abidal, at the age of 35, has publically announced his decision to hang up his boots. The French international has served the soccer industry for 14 years playing for the French National team and several decorated clubs across Europe as well.
Eric has 67 caps for France but has missed out on the 2014 world cup with France. He announced that he would not play for France in August.
He was an Olympiakos player by then having moved to the Greek side from Monaco after signing a contract with the Greeks till 2016.
Media speculations suggest that the 35 year old Frenchman has decided to hang up his boots at the club level too with immediate effect and would not continue playing into the New Year.
Abidal had an illustrious career having started for the French outfit Monaco in 2000 before moving on to Lille and then Lyon. The most highlighted phase of his soccer career was his time in Pep Guardiola’s flawless Barcelona side from 2009 to 2012. How long Abidal played in Barcelona? He spent a total of 6 years at the Catalan club between 2007 and 2013 where he gained a lot of respect and sympathy from his fellow teammates and club fans alike. Owing to his return to the Barca first team after undergoing a treatment for his liver tumor in 2011, Abidal gained a lot of fan applauds and love as he was a part of the team that won the Champions league in Wembley in 2011. The Barca skipper Xavi handed him the captain’s armband and let him lift the trophy much to the respect of his fellow teammates and the Catalan supporters.
A defender, he played left-back for most of his career and later moved to central defense positions in the latter stages. He won 4 Liga titles and 2 Champions league titles with Blaugranes. Abidal announced the presence of a liver tumor in 2011 and underwent a liver transplant in 2012.
Josep Maria Bartomeu, the Barca President has expressed his desire to let Abidal work with the club once his playing career was over.
Eric Abidal and Barcelona
Abidal reveals that he had the opportunity to stay in Olympiakos too but it was too soon for him to decide where his future lies.
“Barcelona approached me about working for them two years ago, and that’s still on the agenda, but I haven’t had the offer of a contract. I have exactly the same situation here at Olympiakos,” he said.
“In the short term, I am going to rest, enjoy being with my family, and I will take a decision with regard to what comes next in my professional life after that.
“I have spoken to the [Olympiakos] president. He knows I’m open to an offer. My future will be close to that of Olympiakos. When, I don’t know, but that is something I want.”
The former France international and Olympiakos midfielder Christian Karembeu the current advisor to Olympiakos President, Evangelos Marinakis, has made it clear to the press that Abidal is always welcome.
“This is a very special moment. He belongs to the Olympiakos family,” he said. “The door is open to him, he can come back whenever he wants.”
Abidal has credited the reason of his immediate retirement to his intuition. He has kept the reasons for his retirement as personal but said, “Today is a very important day in my career. I have taken the official decision to end my career as a professional player here at Olympiakos. A top-level athlete is the only one who can know when to stop their career, and for me, it is time.”
The 35 year old has followed the footsteps of his former French teammate Henry who had retired earlier this week and was a much loved soccer player wherever he went. He was more of a part of family almost in every club he played for. Barcelona defender Eric Abidal’s career in Barcelona was remarkable.