Former Barcelona star Abidal announces retirement

The defender has opted to call time on his playing career, citing personal reasons, but admits an offer remains open for him to return to Camp Nou
Eric Abidal has announced his decision to retire from professional football with immediate effect.

The Olympiakos defender, 35, was rumoured to be considering an exit from the sport and confirmed the reports on Friday in a press conference, citing "personal reasons".

Abidal paid tribute to the coaches and medical staff who have helped during a career blighted by health problems and admits he has relished his brief spell with Greek champions Olympiakos.

"It's a very important moment in my career. Today, I've taken the official decision to bring an end to my professional career. It's solely due to personal reasons," he told reporters.

"I've always played at a good level. I thank the president for his support. I'm proud to have worn the Olympiakos shirt during my time here and I'll always support them.

"I want to say thank you to the coaches I've had, to the medical staff who helped me, because without them I wouldn't be here now."

Abidal also confirmed that an offer from Barcelona to return to the club in a non-playing role remains on the table but insisted he is in no rush to make a decision about his future.

"I have an offer from Barcelona," he added. "But I will make a decision later. I first want to rest and spend time with my family."

Abidal joined Olympiakos this summer on a two-year contract shortly after renewing his deal with Monaco, having spent six years at Camp Nou prior to his one-season return to Stade Louis II.

He has appeared intermittently for the Greek club domestically but played every match in their Champions League campaign, which ultimately resulted in elimination from the tournament, as they dropped into the Europa League.