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The experienced defender is one step closer to his first-team return after getting playing time with the Catalans' reserves

Barcelona have received some encouraging news from the treatment table as Eric Abidal has resumed match action again after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

With the majority of the Blaugrana players away on international duty, the Frenchman took part in a friendly match with Barcelona B against Ligue 2 outfit Istres on Tuesday morning.

Abidal was diagnosed with a liver tumour back in March 2011, and made a miraculous comeback only months later to feature in the Champions League final. Nevertheless, the 33-year-old was dealt another blow early in 2012 as he underwent a liver transplant in April last year.

The former Olympique Lyonnais defender had since been working on his recovery process, and is now one step closer to making his first-team comeback after getting playing time with the reserves.

Abidal last featured for Barcelona in the Liga win over Atletico Madrid on February 26, 2012.

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