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Barca's Abidal returns to training

After seven months on the sidelines, Eric Abidal has returned to training at Barcelona, getting through a tough first session with the ball.

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Abidal, 33, underwent liver transplant surgery in April after being struck down by illness a month earlier. It was the second major setback for the left-back in as many years following surgery to remove a tumour on his liver in May 2011.

Abidal touched a football for the first time since his last match for Barca and said he is taking the recovery process "little by little" having already achieved his first goal of returning to action by the end of the year.

"I've been thinking about training with the ball for a long time. Today is the first day. I'm tired, but happy," he told Barca TV. "I think from now on my path to recovery will go well."

Abidal stepped up his fitness training at the mountainous terrain in Val d'Aran, Spain and is hoping to return to training with the first team in coming weeks.

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