Abidal to hang up his boots

Eric Abidal (Getty Images)
Eric Abidal (Getty Images)

Athens - Former France international defender Eric Abidal who returned to playing football after undergoing a liver transplant bowed out on a winning note on Wednesday as Greek champions Olympiakos beat Panionios 2-0 in their league match.

Olympiakos coach Michel confirmed after the game that Abidal had played his last game and the 35-year-old would officially announce his retirement at a press conference on Friday.

Michal told Nova TV that Abidal "had made his decision to leave Olympiakos two months ago."

"I am proud to have been his coach this season. Personal decisions are above those of the pitch," Michel added.

Abidal played the whole 90 minutes as two goals by striker Kostas Mitroglou secured the win for the reigning Greek champions in a match watched by only around 5 000 fans at the Karaiskakis Stadium.

For the last three months there have been regular reports that Abidal will quit Olympiakos, despite only signing a two-year contract in the summer, and will return to one of his former clubs' Barcelona to take up a post at the club's academy.

Abidal left Barcelona in 2013 after recovering from the transplant but was not offered a new contract. He spent six years with the Catalan side.

He was first diagnosed with a liver tumour in March 2011 but remarkably he played the whole of the Champions League final against Manchester United two months later which Barca won 3-1. A year later he underwent the transplant.

Capped 67 time by France – he played in all bar one of the games in the 2006 World Cup finals where the French reached the final only to lose in a penalty shootout to Italy – he spent last season with Monaco before moving to Olympiakos.

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