Abidal: I would still be at Barcelona if Guardiola had not left

The experienced defender believes he could have been offered fresh terms at Camp Nou had the 42-year-old not quit the club in 2012
Eric Abidal believes he would still be playing for Barcelona had Pep Guardiola not left the club in the summer of 2012.

The France international was released on a free transfer at the end of the 2012-13 campaign and consequently opted to join Monaco, but he feels the change of coach last summer cost him the chance of signing fresh terms to stay at Camp Nou.

"Things could have been different had Guardiola still been at Barcelona. He's a person who really appreciates me and we still have contact regularly," Abidal told L'Equipe.

"He is a great coach and gave me the chance at Barcelona. If he had still been at Barca, I might have continued there.

"The problem is that my contract was running out. It was difficult to accept, but I had no choice but to move on. It was hard to understand Barcelona's stance at my final press conference. It was not about money. The club didn't even pay me during my illness.

"My time at Barcelona has come to an end, but I'm happy with my new start at Monaco."

Abidal, 33, has so far made four Ligue 1 appearances for Claudio Ranier's side this season.