Barcelona defender Abidal back in action

Eric Abidal is a popular figure at Barcelona. Photo: PA

Eric Abidal has played his first match since being cleared to resume his career following liver surgery after featuring for Barcelona's reserve side in a friendly.

The 33-year-old played 65 minutes of the game against French second division side Istres at Barca's training ground.

Abidal has not played for Barca's senior side in over a year after undergoing a liver transplant last April, having previously had surgery to remove a tumour in March 2011.

The France international started training again last October and was then able to re-join his team-mates for squad sessions in mid-December, but it was not until February 21 that he was given the green light to return to competitive action.