Monaco defender Eric Abidal believes he may have remained a Barcelona player, had Pep Guardiola stayed in charge at Camp Nou.
The France international, who was sidelined twice by a liver tumour during his time with the Liga champions, signed for the Ligue 1 newcomers in July after his contract came to an end.
While the 33-year-old is enjoying life at the Stade Louis II and was prepared for an exit at Barcelona, he feels things could have been different had Guardiola not opted to leave the club in 2012, going on to take a year out of the game.
When asked whether Guardiola could have played a part in keeping him at the club, Abidal told L’Equipe: “Certainly. This is a person who likes me a lot and with whom I am still in contact.
“He is a great coach, it was he who gave me my chance. If he had been there, I might be able to continue.”
Monaco added a host of new additions to their side over the close-season, signing the likes of Radamel Falcao, Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez.
Abidal added that he was pleased to have started his “adventure” with the club and that he was ready for any eventuality in terms of his Barcelona contract.
“The problem is that I was out of contract. In these cases, your contract is renewed or it stops. I was prepared for both situations,” he continued.
“It was complicated and difficult to accept, but you do not have a choice. The adventure with Barcelona is over, but I am very happy to have started another with Monaco.”
Abidal’s form at Monaco has led to him receiving a call-up to the France squad to face Georgia and Belarus in their FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
He could receive his 63rd international cap in Tbilisi on Friday.