Zubizarreta: I thought Abidal's return was impossible

The Barcelona sporting director reveals that he feared the full-back would not succeed in returning to the first team after liver transplant and is delighted to see him back
Andoni Zubizarreta has described Eric Abidal's return for Barcelona against Mallorca as "good for life in general", admitting that he worried the day would never come.

The Frenchman received a rapturous ovation from the Camp Nou crowd after coming on as a 70th-minute substitute during the 5-0 win on Saturday night - his first appearance in 14 months after receiving a liver transplant.

"Six months ago I would have thought it impossible to see his return," Zubizarreta told AS. "This is good for football and for life in general. It shows that you can beat these diseases.

"These battles are very complicated and we must give everyone in these situations our full support. He [Abidal] remembered his cousin, who was the one who donated part of his liver, and the medical profession, but the credit is his for his great pleasure."

Zubizarreta also reflected on Barcelona's defensive problems, playing down any apparent issues, and was quick to deny any links to a move for Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos.

"We will play with what we have [in defence] and use the creativity of our coaches," the former Blaugrana goalkeeper added. "We must have calm.

"Ramos is a great player but plays for Madrid," the 51-year-old said when asked about Ramos. "He is not on our list."