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Éric Abidal
Éric Abidal - 001.jpg
Personal information
Full name Éric Bilal Abidal
Date of birth 11 September 1979 (1979-09-11) (age 30)
Place of birth Lyon, France
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current club Barcelona
Number 22
Youth career
1999–2000 Lyon Duchère
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2000–2002 Monaco 22 (0)
2002–2004 Lille 60 (0)
2004–2007 Lyon 84 (0)
2007– Barcelona 69 (0)
National team
2004– France 52 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 6 February 2010.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 11 February 2009

Éric Bilal Abidal (born 11 September 1979) is a French footballer of Martiniquan descent, who currently plays as a left back for Barcelona and the French national team. He can also play as a central defender.

Contents

Club career

Abidal was trained at Lyon-Duchère, a team playing in the suburbs of Lyon. He started his professional career with Monaco on 16 September 2000, where he made 22 first-team appearances. He moved to Lille where he was reunited with his former manager Claude Puel and earned 62 first-team appearances. At the end of 2004, he returned to his native region by joining Lyon, which had just won its second successive Ligue 1 championship. During his time in France he was considered "one of the best fullbacks in the Ligue 1", self confidence of this title was shown when Lyon played Manchester United: "As a defender, my aim is to infuriate the opponent," Abidal explained. "I want him to be so sick of the sight of me that he has to move somewhere else on the pitch to get away."[1] In the Lyon defence, he played alongside other French internationals (Grégory Coupet, François Clerc, and Anthony Réveillère) and two Brazilian internationals (Cris and Caçapa).

On 30 June 2007, Abidal moved to Barcelona for €15 million, after repeatedly stating that he would not return to training if he did not get the move, signing a four-year contract[2] and taking the number 22 jersey, as the number 20 he wore at Lyon was already taken by Deco. Barça president Joan Laporta also mentioned that Abidal's contract would contain a €90 million release clause, and that Lyon would receive an extra €500,000 if Barcelona win the Champions League in any of the next four seasons.[3]

Abidal missed the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final, to be played against Manchester United, due to picking up a red card in the semi-final against Chelsea. The referee deemed Abidal to have fouled fellow French International Nicolas Anelka, and denying a goal scoring opportunity, although video evidence suggests that any contact was minimal. Abidal was again questionably sent off in the next match he played, a league tie with Villareal. The ensuing suspension meant that he missed the Copa del Rey final; Barcelona won with a 4–1 victory over Athletic Bilbao.

He continued to be first choice left back during Pep Guardiola's second season in charge, despite the arrival of Maxwell, until February 2010 when he suffered a muscle injury that will keep him out for around 2 months.[4] Abidal has never scored a goal in his carreer.

International career

Abidal has earned 52 caps with the French national team, having earned his debut cap on 18 August 2004. Despite numerous injuries and disagreements with FIFA in the past few seasons, Abidal played on the French team in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, starting at left back and playing every minute of the tournament with the exception of France's match against Togo, from which he was suspended after earning two yellow cards over the previous two games. Mikaël Silvestre filled Abidal's left back slot for that game. When France and Italy were forced into a penalty shootout in the Final, he was placed third in France's five shooters.

He went on to become France coach Raymond Domenech's top choice for left-back in nearly every UEFA Euro 2008 qualifier. Abidal was chosen as centre back in their final group match of Euro 2008 against Italy, but he conceded a penalty and was sent off in the first half; France lost the match 2–0 and were eliminated from the tournament.

Career statistics

As of 6 February 2010.[5]
Club Season League Cup[6] Europe[7] Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Monaco 2000–01 10 10 0
2001–02 12 12 0
Total 22 0 22 0
Lille 2002–03 26 0 26 0
2003–04 34 0 34 0
Total 60 0 60 0
Lyon 2004–05 28 0 7 0 35 0
2005–06 15 0 6 0 21 0
2006–07 33 0 3 0 7 0 43 0
Total 76 0 3 0 20 0 99 0
Barcelona 2007–08 30 0 6 0 10 0 46 0
2008–09 25 0 2 0 5 0 32 0
2009–10 14 0 3 0 7 0 24 0
Total 69 0 11 0 22 0 102 0
Career totals 227 0 14 0 42 0 283 0

Honours

Lyon
Barcelona
International

References

External links

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Simple English

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