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Abidal targets December return

Barcelona defender Eric Abidal is hopeful of a return to action before the end of the year.

• Abidal leaves hospital

Abidal, 32, has been unavailable for selection since undergoing a liver transplant in April, having undergone treatment on a tumour last year.

The Frenchman recovered from the original treatment before the end of the 2010-11 season and lifted the Champions League trophy after Barca's victory over Manchester United. He is now making steady progress from his liver transplant.

Abidal told Barca's official website: "I have started working in the gym and I feel fine. I will keep progressing and see if I can play before December.

"I'm better than three months ago. I am following the guidelines that the doctors have given me and the truth is I feel fine. I travel and enjoy being around the team and that environment."

Barca have signed Spain international Jordi Alba to operate in Abidal's usual left-back position, although the latter's versatility also allows him to play in central defence should new coach Tito Vilanova wish to use the pair in the same line-up.

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