Éric Abidal and Jonathan dos Santos, two of just three first team players that are not away on international duty this week, featured in a practice match with the reserves against Istres of French Ligue 2. They both played for 65 minutes of the game at the Ciutat Esportiva. Pinto, however, worked out separately.
This was the first time Abidal has appeared in anything other than training session games since receiving medical clearance on February 21, almost a year after his liver transplant.
In his press conference primarily to explain the arthroscopy performed on Puyol, Dr Ricard Pruna also updated listeners on the situation with Abidal: “The medical clearance was a very important step because it was made in agreement between the doctors that performed the liver transplant at the clinic, the club, and the people that have been at his side. It is not easy to give medical clearance to anyone after an operation like that. From there, we explained to the coaching staff that he could start trying to train with the same intensity as the rest of the squad, and he certainly seems to be responding better and better. The player is gradually reaching the same level as his team mates”.
“We can’t say exactly when he’ll be back, but he is in a very positive mood because he knows it won’t be much longer” concluded Pruna. “I don’t think it’ll be long before he’s named in the squad. It depends on the coaches, but we’re not far off”. Speaking after the Rayo match, Jordi Roura ratified the doctor’s word’s and agreed that it won’t be long before Abi is back in action.