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Abidal, Rosell i Zubizarreta, durant la roda de premsa. FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Éric Abidal has told an emotion-packed press conference this Thursday lunchtime that he is leaving FC Barcelona. “It’s quite a difficult day” he admitted. “I have played here for six years, and it’s been the biggest experience of my life. I had two aims – to fight to be able to see my two daughters grow up and to play again. I’d have loved to have stayed here but I have to accept the club’s decision”. He added that “I’m leaving but I’ll definitely be back. Thank you for the gesture”.

“I have played here for six years, and it’s been the biggest experience of my life"

Minutes before, president Sandro Rosell had said that “We are not saying goodbye to him, we are saying that we’ll meet again whenever he wants. When he decides to stop playing football, he can come back here to be the technical director of all of our football academies on a worldwide level”. The FCB president also said that: “Abidal has become a very special person for all of us. He has won our hearts. He has taught us never to give up and how determination can overcome difficulties. It is a lesson for life that we’ll never forget”.

“Abidal has become a very special person for all of us. He has won our hearts. He has taught us never to give up and how determination can overcome difficulties. It is a lesson for life that we’ll never forget”

Sports director Andoni Zubizarreta, meanwhile, left football issues aside and spoke about the Frenchman’s human side: “We have laughed, cried, suffered and enjoyed things together. I’ll never forget the day I visited him in the clinic and he said ‘I’ll be back’”.

Most of the squad attended the press conference, including coach Tito Vilanova and the four captains Puyol, Xavi, Valdés and Iniesta.

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Emotional conclusion

A video highlighting Abidal’s best moments as a FC Barcelona player was shown during the conference. The player and many attendees were unable to hold back tears. The emotional goodbye continued at the end of the press conference when Abidal hugged his team-mates and members of the technical staff one by one. Club directors Toni Freixa, Pilar Guinovart, Javier Bordas, Jodri Moix and Ramon Ciero were also in attendance.

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