Eric Abidal returns to Barcelona as sporting director

Former Barcelona defender Eric Abidal is to become the club's new sporting director
Image: Eric Abidal has returned to Barcelona as the club's new sporting director

Former defender Eric Abidal has returned to Barcelona as technical secretary.

Abidal, 38, has been handed the position - similar to a director of football role - and has vowed to bring the same fighting spirit that he had as player when he battled liver cancer.

"As well as my experience in the football world, I know this club and its players very well. It's a question of bringing the values I have always maintained," Abidal said in a press conference following his presentation.

"It's a pleasure to be back at FC Barcelona, it's like my second home. I thank the club for entrusting me with such an important job.

"I am a Barca man, I want to give everything for the club, for the fans, for the players."

Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid celebrates after scoring his team's second goal of the game during the UEFA Europa League Final between Olympique de Marseille and Club Atletico de Madrid at Stade de Lyon on May
Image: Abidal would not be be drawn on Barca's failure to sign Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid

Abidal has been drafted into the position off the back of the club's failure to sign top target Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid.

The striker revealed his decision to turn down Barca's advances and stay with Atletico in a recent documentary.

Griezmann's non-arrival suggests Barca will now continue to put their faith in youngster Ousmane Dembele, though Abidal would not be drawn on the issue.

"I'm not here to talk about Griezmann. We know Dembele is a player who has a lot of talent. We want to have all our players, not just Dembele, at 100 per cent.

"But first, he wants to have a great World Cup with the national team and then he can rest and come back to the squad to training and keep moving forward."

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