Barcelona star Abidal returns to training after liver transplant
October 10, 2012 -- Updated 1404 GMT (2204 HKT)
French defender Eric Abidal moved to Barcelona from Lyon in 2007.
- Barcelona defender Eric Abidal returns to training
- The French left-back has been out for seven months following a liver transplant
- Abidal has been at Barca since 2007 and has twice won the European Champions League
- He was part of the French squad which lost to Italy in the 2006 World Cup final
(CNN) -- Barcelona defender Eric Abidal returned to training Wednesday after seven months on the sidelines following a liver transplant.
The 33-year-old was delighted to be back in action as he told the official website of the Catalan giants.
"I've been thinking about training will the ball for a long time," the 33-year-old said. "Today is the first day. I'm tired, but happy. I think from now on my path to recovery will go well."
The world of football was stunned when Abidal was diagnosed with a liver tumor in May 2011, but he made a remarkable recovery to reclaim his place in the first team squad at the Camp Nou.
But further complications arose in March which necessitated the transplant operation and another lengthy spell of rehabilitation.
Abidal, hugely popular with the Barca fans, began his career with Monaco before moving to Lille in 2002. It was after leaving Lille to join Lyon in 2004 that he rose to prominence.
Mourinho on the enigma of Balotelli
Mourinho on managing star players
Blog: Does international soccer need a shake up?
Following three French First Division triumphs Abidal moved to Barcelona in June 2007.
Since moving to Spain, Abidal has collected a host of honors.
He was a part of the Barca squad which won three consecutive La Liga titles between 2009 and 2011.
Abidal has collected a Cop del Rey winner's medal on two occasions and helped Barca clinch European Champions League glory in 2009 and 2011.
In addition to his achievements at club level, Abidal has collected 61 caps for France.
He was part of the Les Bleus squad which finished as runners-up at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Part of complete coverage on
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
April 24, 2013 -- Updated 1434 GMT (2234 HKT)
Luis Suarez's biting of Branislav Ivanovic is the latest episode of moments of madness when soccer stars behave badly.
March 29, 2013 -- Updated 0938 GMT (1738 HKT)
Sunderland's partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation is part of its bid to woo the African market.
March 28, 2013 -- Updated 1558 GMT (2358 HKT)
Each year as many as 700 Cameroonian young footballers leave Africa in search of a professional career abroad.
May 6, 2013 -- Updated 1201 GMT (2001 HKT)
Referees across Europe are feeling the heat. Insulted, threatened, chased off the field, attacked, hospitalized and, tragically, killed.
March 6, 2013 -- Updated 1345 GMT (2145 HKT)
A red card for Manchester United's Nani during Tuesday's loss to Real Madrid sparks huge social media reaction.
February 26, 2013 -- Updated 1225 GMT (2025 HKT)
Footballers have a battery of physios, fitness trainers and doctors all striving to fine-tune their physique -- but are they missing a trick?
February 26, 2013 -- Updated 1424 GMT (2224 HKT)
No Englishman has won the EPL title in over 20 years, while a leading manager reveals that English coaches are now "not respected abroad."
May 13, 2013 -- Updated 0933 GMT (1733 HKT)
Hardcore Italian football "ultra" Federico is a Lazio supporter who happily admits directing monkey chants at black players.
March 5, 2013 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
When Jupp Heynckes made his Bundesliga debut as a player in 1965, the name of Bayern Munich was a new one for the nascent German league.
February 19, 2013 -- Updated 1902 GMT (0302 HKT)
Football's world governing body FIFA has confirmed it will use goal-line technology at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
February 19, 2013 -- Updated 1403 GMT (2203 HKT)
Match-fixing has become a worldwide issue, with hundreds of matches under investigation -- but how do you actually fix a football game?
February 18, 2013 -- Updated 1700 GMT (0100 HKT)
U.S soccer star Robbie Rogers has "come out" as gay on the day he retired from the game, making the announcement on his blog.
February 11, 2013 -- Updated 2231 GMT (0631 HKT)
The wealth of owners like Chelsea's Roman Abramovich often fuels success, but for other clubs such backers prove a mixed blessing.
January 31, 2013 -- Updated 1740 GMT (0140 HKT)
Brand Beckham is moving from the "City of Angels" to the "City of Light" as the football icon signs a short-term deal and offers to give away his pay.
January 31, 2013 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
Fireworks inside his own house, a car crash in his first week at Manchester City, that iconic t-shirt -- the EPL will miss Mario Balotelli.
January 30, 2013 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
The Secret Footballer reveals the complex issues surrounding racism in the English Premier League.
January 30, 2013 -- Updated 1543 GMT (2343 HKT)
The death of 73 football fans in Port Said tragedy continues to haunt Egypt.
Today's five most popular stories