BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Eric Abidal said on Sunday that former Barcelona teammate Dani Alves had offered him part of his liver when he needed a transplant last year.
Abidal told Catalunya Radio that Dani Alves, who now wears Abidal’s old number 22, “wanted to give me his liver, but it couldn’t be” because it would have hurt the Brazil right back’s ability to play. The France defender’s cousin ended up donating him part of his liver.
“The story with Dani goes beyond the jersey,” Abidal said. “He knows it. Me too. We are friends and we talk about everything. He wanted to support me. And besides, he’s a very good person. He was my neighbor and his ex-wife and my wife are friends.”
The 34-year-old Abidal had a liver transplant in 2012, keeping him away from football for one year. He returned to make a few appearances for Barcelona before leaving to join Monaco in the offseason.
Abidal also says his statement to the French press that he was upset with his treatment by Barcelona when it decided not to renew his contract this summer was a “misunderstanding.”
Abidal had told sports daily L’Equipe that Barcelona had not paid his salary while he was ill. Barcelona denied that in a statement.
“I have no problem with Barcelona,” Abidal said on Sunday. “Everything was agreed to, and what Barca said was true and what I said was also true. There isn’t any problem. Not with (president) Sandro Rosell, not with (sports director Andoni) Zubizarreta, not with (former coach Tito) Vilanova, not with the fans. Everything is fine. I will return to Barcelona with the same joy I have always had.”
The current Monaco captain said he still plans to accept Barcelona’s offer to return as its director of its football schools when he finishes his playing career.