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The France international looks set to make his return to competitive action, after a lengthy seven-month spell on the sidelines, following emergency surgery on his liver

Barcelona defender Eric Abidal has been given the all-clear to play for the club's first team in the coming weeks after recovering from his liver transplant, Goal.com understands.

Following good recuperation since his operation, doctors have decided that the Barca left-back is ready to begin the journey back to competitive football.

Abidal, 33, has already started training outside of the first team squad, but he could now come under the command of coach Tito Vilanova again.

The exact date of his return is yet to be determined, however it is thought that the France international could be back in action as early as January.

Abidal will only be given a few minutes at first however, as Barcelona are not prepared to rush the player back into first-team football, or take any unnecessary risks in his return.

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