Abidal invited to France, Sweden match
Eric Abidal will travel to Kiev next Tuesday to watch France's final Group D game against Sweden in the European Championship if doctors give him the go-ahead, the president of the French Football Federation said Wednesday.
The Barcelona left back had a liver transplant two months ago, ruling him out of the tournament. Doctors were satisfied the operation went well and he has been recovering since.
''I've invited Eric. I spoke to him several times on the phone before coming to Ukraine. We've made plans for him to come, if his doctors allow him to,'' Noel Le Graet said. ''He will be in Barcelona on the morning of the match against Sweden, (scheduled) to arrive in Kiev in the afternoon, and he will stay with us before going back the next day.''
The 32-year-old Abidal has played 61 times for France and was expected to be a key player at Euro 2012 until the illness forced him out.
He underwent surgery to remove a liver tumor in March 2011 and returned to play sparingly at the end of last season for Barcelona, which he joined from Lyon in 2007 and has helped win two Champions League titles and three straight Spanish league championships.
Abidal remains hugely popular among France players and is particularly close to striker Karim Benzema, who plays for Real Madrid.
''His health is improving, and improving a lot,'' Le Graet said. ''As soon as he was feeling better, (all) he wanted to talk about was this trip.''