Eric Abidal recovering as expected
BARCELONA, Spain (AP)
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola says Eric Abidal's liver transplant was completed ''without complications'' and the France defender's recovery is progressing as expected.
Guardiola says doctors were happy with the results and ''that everything was going well ... which is the best news.''
Abidal's cousin was the liver donor for Tuesday's surgery.
The 32-year-old Abidal underwent surgery on a liver tumor in March 2011 and returned to play sparingly at the end of last season. He was a regular all of this season until last month when the Spanish champions announced the need for the transplant.
Abidal joined from Lyon in 2007 and has helped the club win two Champions League titles and three straight Spanish leagues.
The defending La Liga champs received more good news on Friday, as Barcelona defenders Daniel Alves and Gerard Pique are available for Saturday's match at fifth-place Levante while midfielder Seydou Keita is sidelined by injury.
Alves and Pique have recovered from similar left leg muscle injuries. Barcelona says Keita is struggling with a muscle injury in his right thigh.
Dutch midfielder Ibrahim Afellay also returns and was included in the squad for the first time since undergoing knee surgery in September.
Three-time defending champion Barcelona trails Spanish leader Real Madrid by four points with the pair meeting on April 21.