Player Profile – AbidalNovember 27, 2007
Full name: Eric Abidal
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Date of Birth: 11th September 1979
Previous Teams: Olympique Lyon, France; Lille, France; Monaco, France; Lyon-La-Duchere, France.
National Squad/Number of Appearances: France/20+
Signed as a replacement for Gio, Abidal is a natural left back although he also has the ability to play as a centre back if necessary. He is considered to combine a good mix of skill, positioning and tactical awareness and is well known for his runs up the wing to support forward players with pinpoint crosses.
- Abidal is of Martinique descent and his move to Barcelona is his first outside of France.
- During his playing career in France, Abidal was considered one of the best full backs in the country.
- Abidal claims that his role is to infuriate players so much that they get sick of the sight of him and go off to play somewhere else on the pitch.
- Abidal couldn’t take his traditional number 20 shirt at Barca as that is reserved for Deco so he now wears the number 22 shirt.
- Lyon stand to get a 500,000EURO payout if Barca win the Champions League in the next four years as part of the deal to sign the player.
- Barca faced stiff competition from Arsenal to sign the player in the summer.
- Despite interest from Italian clubs the defender refused moves to Italy as he felt that Italian football was too racist following a clash with Daniele De Rossi in a Champions League match.
- The player is a recent convert to Islam and has taken the Muslim name Bilal.
- During his time with Olympique Lyon Abidal won the French league (2004-5, 2005-6, 2006-7) and the French Cup of Champions (2004-5, 2005-6).
- The player was a member of the French team that were runners up in the 2006 World Cup.
- Abidal is contracted to Barcelona on a four-year deal.
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