Abidal files paperwork for comeback
Barcelona say defender Eric Abidal will register his papers with the Spanish Liga before the end of the month, allowing him to make a dramatic footballing comeback after his liver transplant nine months ago.
The 33-year-old French international must register with the Spanish football federation as a final formality before being allowed to play.
"In principle, if there are no objections, Abidal will have his registration with the federation before January 30," Barcelona president Sandro Rosell said in an interview with Catalan radio RAC1 late on Monday.
Once Abidal is registered, his contract with Barcelona formally resumes, Rosell said.
After that, his return to the pitch "will depend on the decision of the coaches, whether he is fit or not," the Barca boss said.
Abidal returned to training with his Barcelona teammates in December after getting the all-clear from doctors.
He had a liver transplant operation on April 10 just over a year after a tumour was removed from the organ in March 2011.
Transplant specialists at the time questioned whether Abidal would be able to make a return to top-flight football, given the potential risk of damage to the new organ in the contact sport.
On the day Abidal returned to training with Barcelona, however, the team revealed that coach Tito Vilanova had suffered a relapse in his own cancer battle.
The 44-year-old Barcelona coach underwent surgery for a second time on a tumour on a saliva gland on December 20 and is now undergoing weeks of radiation and chemotherapy.