Éric Sylvain Abidal
() (born 11 July 1979) is a French international footballer
descent who currently plays as a left or central defender
for FC Barcelona
. He converted to Islam after marrying an Algerian woman.
Abidal was trained at Lyon-Duchère
, a team playing in the suburbs of Lyon
. He started his professional career with Monaco
on 16 September 2000, where he made 25 first-team appearances. He moved to Lille
where he was reunited with his former manager Claude Puel
and earned 62 first-team appearances. At the end of 2004, he returned to his native region by joining Lyon
, which had just won its second successive Ligue 1
championship. During his time in France he was considered "one of the best fullbacks in the Ligue 1", self confidence of this title was shown when Lyon played Manchester United
: "As a defender, my aim is to infuriate the opponent,"
Abidal explained. "I want him to be so sick of the sight of me that he has to move somewhere else on the pitch to get away."
In the Lyon
defence, he played alongside other French internationals (Grégory Coupet
, François Clerc
, and Anthony Réveillère
) and two Brazilian internationals (Cris
On 17 January 2007, Abidal scored the first goal of his career in a 1–0 Lyon
victory over Le Mans
on a 2006–07 Coupe de la Ligue