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Eric Abidal angry at Barcelona, claims lack of pay

Photo: AP

Eric Abidal is lifted into the air by his teammates in June after his final match with Barcelona.

PARIS (AP) -- Eric Abidal is angry at how his Barcelona career came to an end and claims he was not even paid by the club when he was seriously ill.

The 34-year-old Abidal had a liver transplant last April, ruling him out of the 2012 European Championship and keeping him away from football for one year. He returned to make a few appearances for Barcelona before leaving to join Monaco in the offseason.

"The problem was that my contract was coming to an end. In that case, either it's renewed, either it ends. I was prepared for both,'' Abidal said in an interview with sports daily L'Equipe published Friday. "It was hard to accept but you don't have the choice. The adventure with Barcelona is over, but I'm very happy to have started another one with Monaco.''

But Abidal said he was disappointed at how his departure was announced.

"What was hard to understand was what Barcelona said during my last press conference. By saying that it was a professional choice, it made other clubs doubt,'' Abidal said. "It wasn't even a question of money. The proof being that all the months I was ill, the club didn't pay me. Now I'm lucky to have the trust of the Monaco coach and president. Touch wood, everything's fine. But it's true that there was a time when I doubted myself.''

Abidal has played 90 minutes for Monaco in every league game and was expected to play for France later Friday in its World Cup qualifier at Georgia.

After joining from Lyon in 2007, Abidal played 125 league games for Barcelona, helping the Catalan club to win four league titles and two European Cups. He forged a close bond with former coach Pep Guardiola, who is now in charge of Bayern Munich.

"He's someone who appreciates me enormously and I'm still in touch with,'' Abidal said. "He was a great coach. He's the one who gave me my chance. If he was still there, I may have continued (with Barcelona).''

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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