Abidal given clearance for Barcelona return

The defender is now an option for the Blaugrana after almost a year-long absence following major liver surgery, but he won't be rushed back by the club.

Barcelona has 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 Feb. 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 program 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. The club's sporting director, Andoni Zubizarreta, has already stressed that the club will not rush the fullback’s return to the first-team fold, though.

The emotional lift provided by Abidal's return could help turn 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!"

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