Abidal stepping up from ambassador role to sporting director post at Barcelona

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Barcelona sporting director Robert Fernandez will not have his contract renewed, with Eric Abidal instead taking over in the role.

Eric Abidal will take over as Barcelona's sporting director for the 2018-19 season, the club have confirmed, replacing Robert Fernandez in the role.

Fernandez's contract is due to expire at the end of June and will not be renewed, Barcelona said in a statement released on Thursday.

The outgoing sporting director faced criticism over the departure of Neymar last year in a world-record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, while some of his signings during his tenure failed to have the expected impact at Camp Nou.

Abidal played for Barca between 2007 and 2013, though serious illness and a subsequent liver transplant curtailed his involvement towards the end of his spell.

The former France international became a Barcelona ambassador in 2017 and will now take over from Fernandez.

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"Barcelona announces that Robert Fernandez will not extend his contract as the football first team technical secretary which runs out on June 30 of this year," the La Liga champions said in a statement.

"The club would like to thank Robert Fernandez publicly for his commitment and dedication to Barcelona over the years and wishes him success in the future."

Abidal will be presented as the new Barcelona sporting director on July 18, the club added.

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