Eric Sylvain Abidal is a French former professional footballer who played as a left back or a central defender and is the director of football of FC Barcelona.
In his career, he played mainly for Lyon and Barcelona, winning 18 titles with both teams combined including two Champions League trophies with the latter. His later career was marked by liver disease, resulting in a transplant. A French international across nine years, Abidal represented the nation in two World Cups – finishing second in 2006 – and Euro 2008.
Abidal earned 67 caps for the France national team, his debut coming on 18 August 2004 in a friendly with Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was selected for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, playing all the games and minutes in the country’s runner-up campaign as left-back, with the exception of France‘s match against Togo, from which he was suspended after earning two yellow cards in the first two games. In the final against Italy, he scored his penalty shootout attempt.
Again under Raymond Domenech, Abidal was first-choice during the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign. In the final stages, he appeared against Italy as a centre-back, but conceded a penalty and was sent off in the first half of an eventual 0–2 loss and group stage exit. He played against Uruguay and Mexico in the 2010 World Cup again at centre-back, opting out of the next game against host country South Africa as the French side again left the competition after only three matches.
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