Eric Abidal thanked the Barcelona fans for the ovation he received last night on making his long-awaited comeback following liver surgery.
The 33-year-old defender was a 70th-minute replacement for Gerard Pique in Barca's 5-0 rout of Real Mallorca, making his first appearance in over a year after undergoing a liver transplant last April, having previously had surgery to remove a tumour in March 2011.
"It was a long (lay-off)," he said. "I really struggled. I received a lot of support through this year and this was the most important thing. From my wife, my parents, my friends, but also the fans of Barcelona too."Without them, I would not have returned to football. It was a unique moment."