Eric Abidal makes Barcelona return after liver transplant

Eric Abidal returned to first team action after his second lengthy layoff due to liver problems.
David Ramos/Getty Images

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -Eric Abidal has played his first match for Barcelona since receiving a liver transplant.

Abidal went on in the 70th minute of Saturday's Spanish league game against Mallorca to a standing ovation from the Camp Nou crowd.

The 33-year-old France defender was cleared to play in February and played a game with Barcelona's reserve team last month.

His last appearance for Barcelona was on Feb. 26, 2012.

Abidal underwent surgery to remove a liver tumor in March 2011 and returned to the team at full strength before the end of that season. He then had to stop playing a second time last spring when doctors determined he needed a liver transplant.

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