Who cares about the referees now?

For many of us, this is the iconic image of last season. Eric Abidal, fighting his way back to fitness after the devastating news that he had a cancerous tumour in his liver that required an operation. Puyol, our captain of the enormous heart, insisting that Abi be the one to lift the Champions League trophy. The team rallying behind one of their own and celebrating his triumphant recovery.

Sadly, the club has announced today that Abidal will have to have a liver transplant after all. Here is the official notice from the site:

During the next few weeks, the player will undergo a liver transplant as a result of the progress of his liver disease. A transplant was considered an option from the start of his treatment a year ago. At the express wishes of the player, the Club asks that the maximum respect for the player’s privacy be observed.


I think I can speak for us all when I say that it is news like this that makes us all understand what the really important things in life are. Not football, for a start. Not referees, not conspiracies, not rivalries. It’s this:

All our thoughts are with this brave man and his family right now. I hope and believe he will get through this. He will have the best medical care available and the support of not only his family, friends and teammates, but that of the larger Blaugrana community. Anims Abi! We love you.

EDIT: Just wanted to add one more thing:

Categorized as Barcelona

By blitzen

Canadian, cule, corporate wage slave. Came late to the beautiful game, but fell under FCB's spell in 2006 and never looked back.


  1. Strength to Abi.
    But if indeed like Kxevin said the club knew about his condition, then it kinda makes u wonder why maxwell was sold of in a hurry.

    I think may have been aware of the possibility of a transplant at some point but not in Mid season like this.
    May God Preserve his life

  2. Anims Abi!

    Such a big blow. Indeed the important thing is always the people. May he and his family find the strength to deal with this blow.

  3. Prayers for him, his wife, and his beautiful girls.

    Anims crack!

    Sorry youw first post had to be such a sad one, Blitz, but thanks for giving this news its proper space.

  4. This puts everything about this season in perspective, like blitzen said.

    Praying for a successful operation and recovery, and for his family. Anims Abidal.

  5. Oh my goodness.
    I just logged in and read multiple anims on barcastuff and looked at the handle and it says Abidal…My goodness. Why?

    I thought it was already solved last year??!!

  6. Thanks, blitzen. Sorry your debut post couldn’t be a happier one.

    The bitch about cancer is that it hardly ever does what anyone wants it to. You think it’s gone, that you got it, and it comes back. Or it did so much damage by its presence that things need to be fixed.

    I don’t presume in any way to know which one it is with Eric Abidal, but I do know this: I don’t care about the Liga, or Champions League, or anything except a family member that needs our best thoughts and prayers.

    I violated my edict last year and got a shirt with Abidal’s name/number on it, because of what his struggle symbolized for the club. Him hoisting that trophy said everything that there was to say about a titanic struggle that forced the best from our team.

    Recently I wondered why Abidal hadn’t been playing. People said “Injured.” But I was pretty sure that the groin thing from the internationals was probably okay, and an awful thought went through my mind. I hate that it’s now come to pass.


  7. I keep finding comments on pages expressing shock with “I thought he got better”. My understanding is that cancer always threatens to return. One never really ‘gets better’. I hope on some level that I am misinformed and wrong.

    A friend of mine who is no longer with me, years ago, had a liver transplant due to complications from Crohn’s disease. We played World of Warcraft together and a lot of our guildmates were shocked when he died. He had confided into me that the nature of a (or at least his) liver transplant was such that it was likely his body would accept it for 5-10 years maximum. At that point, his body was likely to reject it, and the hospital would try to arrange another, which he told me might be able to last him another 5-10 years. After that, that lease on life would be effectively over. I found out that due to the supply of organs, that while he lived healthily and did not drink heavily, he could not expect for more. I do not know if Abidal’s celebrity would give him similar limitations. I am not sure what he would think of, after a certain point, further extending his life in such a way if it would mean someone else would go missing on a liver. I hope it is not that simple.

    My friend did not even have such luck. He was brave and he was kind and he was strong but sometimes life does not care for such things and he passed away, at 25 years old.

    It’s very likely he will not play with us in the future. The medicine required to suppress his immune system alone will impair his physical performance. But that means a lot less to me than if le roi guerrier has a story that goes better than my friend’s did.

    I feel like I have more to say on this but I’m not sure what else merits writing.

    I miss Adam.

  8. Arrgghh, again? The most worst news of the season. Why he keep playing if doctor not sure if the liver is not fully cure? As fas i know, the health of your liver depends a lot on your physhical condiition. It get worsen if you tire yourself too much.

    Anims Abidal! Our prayers go to you and your family. You’ll get through this safely. Amen.

    1. Last summer, for lack of better football to watch, I rewatched last season’s Barca games. I had a problem watching the pre-Abi-diagnosis games. My thought whenever I saw Abi was crap, that damn thing is growing in him. Now I’m like what the hell was that man doing out on the field if there was any chance of something serious like this happening. If this was always a possibility as it says in the official blurb, why was he allowed to do anything that could have compromised his condition? Medicine is not an exact science but still. *end mini rant*

    1. Yes. That we could trade silver for health and happiness. Don’t think there’s anyone on the club who wouldn’t make that swap.

      What is clear, as we see this group of players, is that it’s family. Some insider commented that they never saw squabbles, or locker room difficulties, or arguments, or problems of any kind. Just a group of players who got along, and are all intensely fond of each other. A family, bonded by sport and a common struggle.

      That family extends itself by definitions to cules and socis, people who have the club in their hearts so deeply that they become part of that family. I kinda can’t explain how upset I am right now by this. This just isn’t supposed to happen. Stories with happy endings are supposed to stay that way.

      I’ll leave doctor types to mull about potential complexities. And this isn’t about whether he will play for Barca again. As blitzen’s picture quite capably makes clear, this is about life. Everything else is a so, so distant second.

  9. And it speaks volumes for the club that it chose to renew him, when is absolutely, certainly HAD to know about Abidal’s condition. That’s family, and an example of a club being family and treating one of its players as one of its own. Would any club have done this? Dunno. But my club did, and it’s just another thing that explains the depth of my feeling for Barca.

    1. I had a thought about why the club chose to renew him. FCB takes care of its own. As they did with Messi. They obviously knew that this was a possibility. I think they didn’t want to leave Abi w/out the care he may need and the specialists he deserves. That’s why they renewed. I have a feeling they wanted him to take it easy and would understand if he didn’t play during the season, but he has the HEART of a LION! My thoughts and prayers are with Abi & his 2 beautiful daughters. Positive thoughts are needed to help himt through this difficult time.

  10. Get well soon Abi!!!

    Question: This could possibly be the end of his career right? I personally would want him to. Being on that pitch is a risk all together and for the family man Abidal is, he maybe is also considering it.

    He’s only 32, his whole life ahead of him no need to further complicate his condition by playing week in week out.

    Just might possibly be Thuram all over again.

    1. Just like last year we are dealing with a lot of unknowns. Speculation can be dangerous, and assumptions are worse but yeah, cancer is a nasty unpredictable son of a…, the liver is a very tricky organ, transplant operations are not without risks, compatible organs can take a long time to find, rejection risks are evil, rejection meds compromise other things. This is not good. It has a higher probability of ending his career than anyone is comfortable with.

      BUT, if he never steps onto a football pitch again(as a player) it’s not a huge thing.
      If he’s not around to cry at his daughters’ weddings, THAT is huge.

      Now guys, there’s something positive y’all can do that won’t help Abidal directly but can help others in similar circumstances. Go out and sign up to become organ donors.

    2. I already signed it when I got my license the first time. But unfortunately everybody only has one liver. A liver transplant pretty much means another person just died. It’s sad.

    3. Well what’s important is the organ is being given to someone who really deserves it. I read in some sites questioning the expediency of his transplant surgery. Maybe Abi was put on the list a year ago. I guess they were just being prudent to his situation.

      Nevertheless, Abi is a strong and determined person. He will overcome this ordeal.

    4. Anyone questioning the expediency of the liver transplant is an idiot! No one is given priority or moved to the top of the list. He’s been on the list since he was diagnosed because this is standard for all diagnosis where transplants are a possibility. I remember the same being said of Mickey Mantle years ago. He wazn’t bumped up either, but had been on the list and the right compatibility was found where others on the list weren’t compatible. Speculation of this sort is by bitter, ignorant, & sad people

    5. Just educated myself about liver transplant. Indeed a liver transplant can be from both LIVE and dead donors. So I am glad the surgery doesn’t necessarily mean someone just passed away. And liver transplant seems to be the best option for liver tumor patients. But it’s not always lucky to find a matching donor at the beginning. So what I am thinking is that Abidal was on the waiting list a year ago. But there were no matching donors. But now he found it. So the surgery ca be done ASAP. This is indeed comforting instead of thinking his situation getting worse.

    6. I wish i could, but i’m myself a liver patient.Being 18 year old, i totally know what Abi and his family must be going through. I love this club and I love all you people who sincerely want to save a live by donating their organ.
      Its love that connects us all.
      Visca Barca!:)

  11. This could all have happened a year ago. Instead we have images of Abi lifting that cup in Wembley, a poignant memory

  12. The possibility of him not playing again makes me sad 🙁

    I’m praying for a speedy recovery for him. I’m happy that his last game was defending for his country.

  13. And the man was a monster who bled Blaugrana. Two goals, both HUGE, vs Bilbao and EE, the headed clearance against Sevilla, thinking nothing of bashing his noggin into the turf to clear the ball. And the return last season, as a sub at home for Puyol against (of all opponents) EE.

    Puyol is this club’s beating heart, Xavi is its metronome but for me, it feels like Abidal is its soul.

  14. this were humanity matters more than titles or fame…
    everything else just seems hollow now; liga,CL,CDR..everything
    anyway i am just dropping by to wish the great Abidal a fast recovery,and to wish his family all the goodness and patience and i hope god will give them strength to get through this illness..
    and see him safe and illness free in no time
    he is one of the most respected players now a days..and i salute him

    1. I’m drooling just thinking about it. We may very well lose to this team, but with Bielsa in charge you can bet it will be a wonderful game to watch whatever happens.

  15. Damn, this is shocking bad news. I really hoped he was completely healthy right now. He’s super tough as Puyol said. He already was trying to make feel everyone better in the dressing room. I know he will pass this, for his daughters and his family. I’m proud, as Kxevin said, that the club got his back, this is Barça! As Valdano once said, other clubs wouldnt do exactly this.
    Ánims Abi! Molta força!

  16. This… damn. I don’t know what to say. Damn.

    My best wishes go out to his wife and his daughters. 🙁 🙁

  17. It feels like the world is broken. I’m destroyed right now. I feel like I’m gonna cry. This news… I don’t even know what to think.

    Anims Eric, get better! We all want the best for you.

    Also, I feel like this is a good time to say thanks to everyone at BFB for being such a supportive and kind community. What a great group of human beings we have here! This is difficult news to deal with, but I can see from reading comments how much we read care about Abidal.

  18. Animo Abidal! Hope he gets back to full health right away. Very sad news indeed. I remember my jaw dropped after his headed clearance while sliding on the floor (vs Sevilla?). Absolutely amazing and full of heart! Best of luck to him. I hope the world wide support he has been getting warms his heart and keeps his spirits up throughout all this!

  19. Devastating news. May peace and strength and love see you and your family through this challenging time.

    Thank you, King Eric for all the joy you’ve given us. You have a world of supporters standing with you.

  20. So much for the “best league in the world”. Man Utd and Man City, contenders for this season’s premier league eliminated in Europa League.. Nice game from Sporting, Jeffren and André Carrillo (peruvian, ex Alianza Lima) played!

    1. No, now they are claiming that they don’t care about Europa League because they want to concentrate on the title race.

  21. I quite honestly don’t know what to say… this is so devastating:(

    I lost a friend to cancer, he had to endure a succesful chemotherapy and everything looked fine. About one year later, the cancer re-appeared (with more parts of his body affected) and after some weeks, he lost the fight against cancer.
    He was only 21 years of age.

    I pray that Eric can overcome this malicious disease again. It’s important that he himself stays positive and believes in his strength. Hopefully our wishes and thoughts reach him.

    It’s not at all about whether he wull ever play professional football again. It’s only about beating the cancer for good. A liver transplant is a risky surgery. I don’t know if this is true in general, but in the case of my friend the re-occuring cancer was more dangerous/aggressive than the first.

    1. Here’s hoping for Abi to recover and become healthier than before.
      I’m sorry to your loss Helge, i know how devastating that could be, as i lost a cousin to cancer, that was 11 years ago, and to this day, its by far the worst moment of my life (my cousin was 33 when he passed away).

  22. When I saw the news my heart sank and I suddenly didnt care about anything else..you would think he was one of my family members and I’m not ashamed to say I cried. I pray for him and his family in these times and hope that he can come back strong like he did before! He’ll survive..he’s strong..thats what we have to keep telling ourselves.

    Anims Abi!

  23. IT’s such a horrible news. All our hopes and support for Abi.

    I am optimist for his chances. I hope he gets well soon and we can actually see him play as soon as possible.

    While not related, I wish to share a story of another Footballer.


  24. Barcelona HAD to know his condition! And they renewed him anyway? I love my club and I love that it is like a family!

    Més que un Club, indeed!!

  25. thank you.

    anims abidal.


    i love lists:

    16 european teams remaining. near half from iberian peninsula.

    5 spain
    3 germany
    2 portugal
    1: cyprus, ukraine, france, england, dutchy, italy

    1. Apparently we’re evens to retain the CL and Madrid is second favorites at 5/2.

      And in the Europa, Atletico and Bilbao are joint favorites at 3/1 with Valencia at 7/2 third favorites. So it’s not just 5 teams left, but the 5 teams are the top two and top three favorites in the respective competitions.

    2. This is the first time in a long time that La Liga can actually pull the European Double. Last time it was done was with us and Sevilla in 06/07?

    3. Yes, but we were close 2 years ago. Inter stopped us from reaching another CL final in 2010, but Atleti held up their end of the bargain by winning the Europa League!

    4. Considering this is the quarters well we’ve been this close regularly. Even last season we won the CL and Villareal were at the semis (where they got hammered and seemed to have never really recovered since).

  26. Guys, I really curious what actually really happen with Abidal. Is the condition of his liver worsen after FULLY CURED last year? Or it’s expected and the doctor knew since last year that actually the new liver need to be transplanted sometimes later.

    I cant find any complete explanation in the web. You guys that live in Barcelona maybe have some insightful update to share?

  27. Some reports say that he’s been on the transplant list since June last year. He knew this all along, and continued to play for everyone.

    People have been asking if he should have stopped playing last year. We know now that the cancer was never fully gone, but we cannot make any medical judgments regarding how his disease has progressed. We should, however, trust that his doctors are doing what is best for him, and that Abi himself knows and decides what is best for himself. He could have stopped playing a year ago, but he is a brave man. Instead, we have memories of Abi lifting the CL trophy, of scoring against Madrid, of serving as an inspiration to people who are battling the same diseae, and so much more. I am sure he has no regrets.

    So many emotions right now, it’s so hard to know what to feel. But I’m just glad that his surgery will be pushing through soon. It will give him a better chance to fight his disease, and that’s the most important thing. The silverware is just gravy.

    1. Puppy had me up early enough to watch this, dangit. Not a happy draw. Didn’t Pep want to avoid them?

    2. wow, think the faith will bring the potential classico final this year. We hv tough Milan in QF, but Bayern also waiting EE in the semis. I think it’s balance out the complexities to reach the final for Spain duo. No disrespect to Chelsea or Benfica

  28. at least we have second leg at home on both occasions.

    the good thing of facing milan and then hopefully Chelsea is financial 🙂 more money from these games!

    1. EE also have second leg at home as well for QF and SF. And they will be treated as home team if they make it to final. Potential SF between EE and Bayern would be the first real test against top team this season (except Barca in liga)

  29. I wanted EE in the QF. If that could not happen i wanted them to draw a tough team like milan or bayern. Seems like thats not happening either. Also the one team i would have liked to avoid is what we get – milan. Thankfully 2nd leg is at home. Too bad we can’t be the home side for the final. Why does it feel like uefa wanted a barca-madrid final from the start? EE CANNOT beat us over 2 legs. one game anything can happen. This is going to be tense!

  30. This could hardly have been any worse.

    EE gets the biggest outsider ever. We get to face AC again. And then a defensively and highly motivated Chelsea.

    But maybe even worse is, we would meet EE in the finals. That is much worse than in a two-legged afair! In a final, Mourinho is the best. Over two legs, I would always say we are the favourites against them. But this is a different situation 🙁

    1. Yeah, worst draw possible. Unless Benfica manages a surprise, we get to play two very difficult for us teams, then EE in the final, which they will probably reach – Bayern is unlikely to beat them…

    2. The one positive thing is we play away in the first game in both the quarter and the semifinals.

    3. Not really worst I think. EE also have Bayern in the SF. Imagine how motivated Bayern will be in the SF, knowing how close they are to play the final in their home sweet home.

    4. In a final Mourinho is the best?

      I see more that Pep’s Barcelona have always raised their game five or six notches for finals, and unlike league or earlier round games we will be rolling into town very very rested. Considering their squad depth means they’re usually fresh and the opposite for us, the marginal gain from that rest will be much more for us.

      Sure I’m not happy with the fact that it’s a single tie not because Mourinho is the best in a final but because a freak incident or injury or stroke of bad luck can have a much bigger impact than over two legs where our quality would show.

      That said, a Bayern side full of quality and only one tie away from a CL game at home will be very dangerous opponents to Real. If Bayern get past Marseille that is, which I assume they will.

  31. It is a tough draw. Milan are a fighting team and they gave us lot of trouble in group stages. They were the team i was hoping Barca would avoid.

    Potential route to title: Milan – Chelsea – Real/Bayern. This is indeed the business end of season.

  32. i still think is good to have avoided bayern, even if ac milan are good.

    chelsea are also quite poor this season, so we have avoided a hard semifinal – with possible cards and suspension.

  33. Worst possible draw. Luck really isnt on our side this season. Madrid of course get the best draw possible. Typical

    1. Not really imo. Madrid got the easiest quarter-final opponent of course but Bayern one tie away from a home CL final (or even if not) are much much more dangerous a side than an unbalanced and just not good in midfield Milan or a creaking, mostly rubbish this season Chelsea.

  34. – For Barca: I think the key match would be the first leg in San Siro, if we could get good away result, Camp Nou would be a lot of help to get us thtough to SF. Chelsea or Benfica in SF could be tricky, but less tense compare to Milan tie. With respect to Chelsea and Benfica, I think we are currently capable to eliminate both of them. Not to mention Chelsea form is on/off this season. Not the best Chelsea we have seen since Abromovich take over.

    – For EE: Their two legged against potential Bayern in the SF would be cracker of a match. Their fullbacks will have a complex task to contain Ribbery and Robben in both wings. Xabi would battle with the Xavi of Germany: Bastian Schweisnteiger. I could say EE it’s not so favorite against Bayern. Plus the super motivated Bayern to play the CL final in their own Allianz Arena would unbelievably spur their spirit. It’s 50/50.

    1. i agree, not having to face a determined bayern, between a clasico, is the better option.

      still better to face good teams!

    2. Yes, you remind us the good point. The camp nou classico will be sandwiched their Bayern SF tie. That would complicate the tie for them, too

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