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The defender is now an option for the Blaugrana after a near-12 month absence following major surgery

Barcelona have confirmed that Eric Abidal is available to play for the first team once again after completing his recovery from a liver transplant.

The defender has not made an appearance since February 26 last year, in a 2-1 win for the Catalans over Atletico Madrid, though he has been training with the squad since December after undergoing a specific training programme leading up the end of 2012.

After undergoing tests to check his liver is healthy in January, Abidal was given the all-clear and is likely to make his return in a Blaugrana shirt in late February or March.

Abidal's return could help lift the doom and gloom following Barca's 2-0 defeat to AC Milan on Wednesday night in the Champions League last 16 first leg.

The Frenchman tweeted on Thursday: "Seriously, huge return match at Camp Nou against Milan. But before that game there are four more important matches. Go Barca!"

Camp Nou sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has already stressed in 2013 that the club will not rush the full-back’s return to the first-team fold, however.

Barcelona's next game is against Sevilla on Saturday night, with kick-off at 22:00CET.

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