Barcelona’s Eric Abidal says his efforts to return to professional football are motivated by the health of coach Tito Vilanova.
France defender Abidal has been sidelined for eight months following liver transplant surgery and feels a particular empathy with Vilanova, who is recovering from an operation after a cancer relapse.
Speaking on a special TV programme entitled ‘The Great Marathon of Abidal’, broadcast on TV3, he said:
“Tito and I have experienced similar things, and we think differently to others,” Abidal told a documentary broadcast on TV3.
“We know what each one of us is thinking, without ever having to say it. I make the effort for me, and also for him.”
Abidal, who has returned to first-team training at Camp Nou, said his main objective while he regained fitness was to begin to work with a football again.
“I really wanted to start with the ball again,” he said.
“I knew once I touched it, the road to recovery would become a bit shorter.
“You always have to try. If you don’t, you’ll never know. This is why I wanted to train – to know if I could do it.”