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Sep 6, 2013

Barca deny Abidal 'not paid' claims

Barcelona have denied reports that their former defender Eric Abidal was not paid during absences caused by illness in recent seasons.

Abidal, 33, returned from a liver transplant operation in April, having previously undergone treatment for a tumour that was discovered in early 2011.

He made four senior appearances towards the end of last season, but Barca decided against renewing his contract in the summer. He subsequently joined Ligue 1 side Monaco, and has been ever present for his new side, earning a recall to the France squad.

Abidal was reported as being angry with Barca for not paying him while he was absent, but a blaugrana source told AS the Camp Nou outfit had met all their responsibilities.

"Eric Abidal was paid in full under his contract and on time," the source said. “Barça have been up to date at all moments, paying all the instalments. A part came from the medical insurers, although this part was very small."

In an interview with L’Equipe, Abidal said he remained hurt by how his departure from the Camp Nou was handled, bu a close look at the full comments suggests initial reports overplayed the strength of his feelings on the matter.

"It is difficult to understand Barcelona's discourse during the final press conference,” he said. “In saying it was a professional decision, it made other clubs doubt me. It was never a question of money.

“The proof is that, during all the months I was sick, the club did not pay me. Now I am lucky to have the confidence of my coach and the club president. Touch wood, everything is going well. But it is true that there was a period of doubt."

Abidal also said that he would probably still be a Barcelona player if Pep Guardiola was still the coach. “[Guardiola] is a person who I appreciate enormously and with whom I am still in contact,” he said. “He is a great coach, he is the one who gave me my chance. If he was still there, I would have maybe been able to continue.”

Earlier this week, Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta said he felt there were no hard feelings over the way things ended between Abidal and the club. "Decisions have to be taken, and responsibility taken at that moment,” he said.

“Last week, we saw each other in Monte Carlo, we said hello and embraced. I am happy to see him playing."

However, some feel Barcelona president Sandro Rosell and his board went back on promises that Abidal would be offered a new playing deal once he proved his fitness.

And this season, Barca defender Dani Alves has changed his number to Abidal's old 22 -- apparently in support of his former team-mate -- but has not been explicitly critical of the club’s handling of the situation in public.

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