I'm suffering: Ex-Barça Star reveals life-changing battle with illness

By Mirror: Monday, April 16th 2018 at 19:34 GMT +3 | Football

Barcelona legend Eric Abidal has opened up on his cancer hell after the Frenchman was struck down by the illness in March 2011.

Abidal underwent surgery and returned to win the Champions League with the Catalan giants, playing 90 minutes in the final against Manchester United at Wembley in May.

But in March 2012 he had to undergo a liver transplant due to complications with the previous operation, with his cousin Gerard being the donor.

Abidal later revealed friend and teammate Dani Alves had offered to donate part of his liver.

The left-back was cleared to return to training in December 2012 and made his Barca comeback in April 2013 replacing Gerard Pique as a second-half substitute in a 5-0 win against RCD Mallorca.

Now, Abidal has spoken candidly of the excruciating pain he felt during his battle, and admitted that Lionel Messi asked him to stop sending videos because it was upsetting the team.

"It is a pain I will remember for life. It was unbearable, like an open knife," he told Canal+.

"When the doctor told me I would need an operation I was happy. It is a suffering that I wouldn't wish on anyone.

"I was very thin and before a game, I made a video to send to the players to cheer them up and send support.

"Do you know what Messi told me? Don't send us things like that anymore because it hurts us.

"I didn't see it like that, I was trying to encourage them but they told me they saw me like a corpse and it left them upset."

Abidal did have visitors at hospital, and admits he was reduced to tears.

"When Thierry [Henry] came to see me in hospital, I cried like a child," added the France international.

"I didn't want him to see me like that but I did like that he came to see me."

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