LONDON - Eric Abidal was stunned with
gratitude after Barcelona captain Carles Puyol invited him to
lift the Champions League trophy and cap a triumphant return
from illness at Wembley on Saturday.
Puyol made the gesture to his team-mate at the end of their
3-1 win over Manchester United, clearing the way for the
Frenchman to take the honour following his return to the side
after having a liver tumour removed.
"I can't explain the emotions I have," Abidal told
reporters. "It's spectacular. I'm so thankful for the gesture."
Barca were shocked in March when Abidal, who had been in
imperious form, was diagnosed with a liver tumour.
After undergoing surgery to have the tumour removed, the
31-year-old returned as a late substitute to a rapturous
reception in the Champions League semi-final second leg at the
Nou Camp at the start of this month, when Barca secured a 3-1
aggregate win over Real Madrid.
The France international joined the Spanish champions from
Olympique Lyon in 2007 and has also played for Ligue 1 sides
Lille and AS Monaco.
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola also praised his captain for a
gesture he described as making the club stronger.
"I want to thank Carles publicly for the gesture," he said.
"It honours the club and makes us stronger.
"It's another demonstration of the sort of club I understand
we are and demonstrates the human qualities of the dressing
Bayern fans snap up 45,000 tickets to watch Champions League final live at Allianz Arena
When Sir Alex wakes up on Monday morning without team to manage, he will not be putting his feet up
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder announces he will be retiring at the end of the current season
Record goal-scorer signs a one-year contract extension with Europa League winners Chelsea
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010