Former Barcelona player Eric Abidal denies receiving 'illegal liver transplant' from club president

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Eric Abidal missed more than two years with <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/soccer/teams/barcelona/" data-ylk="slk:Barcelona">Barcelona</a> due to liver cancer. (AP Photo)
Eric Abidal missed more than two years with Barcelona due to liver cancer. (AP Photo)

Both FC Barcelona and former Barcelona defender Eric Abidal have denied a bizarre report of scandal plagued ex-team president Sandro Rosell allegedly buying Abidal a black-market liver.

The story was run by Spanish newspaper El Confidencial on Wednesday and cites at least four intercepted phone calls in which Rosell “implicitly admits having ‘bought an illegal liver’ for Abidal, who is now Barcelona’s technical secretary. The report states the conversations were automatically sent to a Spanish judge investigating Rosell for money laundering. Now, the judge is reportedly also opening a separate investigation into organ trafficking charges.

The phone calls implicating Rosell reportedly included the former president saying “yes” three times when his acquaintance mentioned buying Abidal an illegal liver and that he had saved Abidal’s life.

Setting aside the circumstances, what is known for sure is that Abidal received his liver transplant in 2012 after being diagnosed with liver cancer, which forced him to stay off the field for two years until his return with the team in 2013.

Eric Abidal denies ‘illegal liver transplant’ story

Abidal tweeted out his defense on Wednesday afternoon in Spain, conveying “annoyance and sadness,” and apologizing to those around him for the “unsoundness of the story.” Abidal restates that he received his liver transplant from a cousin Gerard and that all procedures followed protocol and were documented.


Barcelona was similarly firm in its denial of the story, saying El Confidencial omitted an important fact that the case had been closed by a Barcelona court on May 18.

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