European Soccer

Wednesday Kickoff: Abidal has liver transplant, Cuban player defects & more

Abidal (Retuers Pictures)

While Barcelona was busy pulling within one point of Real Madrid a top the table in La Liga with a resounding 4-0 victory over Getafe on Tuesday, left back Eric Abidal was undergoing a liver transplant needed to save his life.

Abidal, who received the transplant from his cousin, Gerard, is reportedly in recovery from the procedure, but no official statement has been made on his condition per his family's request.

"Today could be a great one all round, because we know that Abidal and his cousin are recovering well after the operation," Barcelona president Sandro Rosell told reporters Wednesday. "I can't say anything more than this because the family have specifically asked us not to say any more."

Barcelona players dedicated the victory over Getafe to Abidal, while fans at Camp Nou cheered his name during the 22nd minute, which was symbolic because Abidal wears jersey No. 22.

Here are a few more stories to get your day going:


When Yosmel de Armas failed to show for Cuba's final game of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament, his coach claimed that he had stayed in the team hotel with an illness.

As it turns out, he was reportedly on a bus to Miami at the time, starting the process of becoming the latest Cuban player to defect to the United States during a tournament. Seven players defected during the 2008 Olympic qualifying tournament, and two more, including Seattle Sounders standout Osvaldo Alonso, defected after the 2007 Gold Cup.

De Armas is in Miami being represented by an attorney who was recommended to him by people in Cuba, one who stated to Reuters that an application for asylum would be filed to the Department of Homeland Security in the coming days.


Queens Park Rangers has had their appeal of Shaun Derry's controversial red card rejected by the FA, and as a result he will need to serve the one game suspension.

Derry was sent off in the 14th minute for denying Ashley Young an obvious goalscoring opportunity in Manchester United's 2-0 victory over QPR over the weekend. Replays showed that Young was well offside when the ball was played into him by Wayne Rooney, but the assistant referee missed the call.

Rooney went on to bury the spot kick, and United coasted to the three points. Here's video of the play in question:


With their top two goalkeepers out on suspension, Liverpool has recalled goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi from Hull City to provide cover for the unsteady Brad Jones.

Because injuries are not what have made Pepe Reina and Doni unavailable, the club was unable to secure a new player on emergency loan and had to look from within for a solution. As a result, the hardly tested Jones and Gulacsi will be the keepers available for selection in Saturday's FA Cup semifinal against rival Everton.

Jones had an uneven performance when pressed into action against Blackburn on Tuesday, coming in and saving a penalty from Yakubu only to follow that up with a horrendous sequence in which he conceded a second spot kick to Blackburn's Nigerian striker.

The 21-year-old Gulacsi, meanwhile, has not played in 2012 for Hull City after suffering a knee injury and failing to win back his place. He is a Hungarian U-21 international.


Happy to hear that Abidal seems to be on the road to recovery? What's your take on the latest Cuban defection? Do you think the FA should have overturned the Derry card? Do you think Liverpool has a shot against Everton with either Jones or Gulacsi in goal?

Share your thoughts below.

  • ac

    Derry card was bogus…I’m a Man U fan, but that’s showing too much favoritism….Young was clearly offside which should have been in favor of the appeal….I believe in protecting referees, but not protecting bad calls.


  • soccerroo

    I agree it looked to be a dive and if anything they should have overturned the red and given it to Young.


  • John

    I thought you get a liver from a dead person. How does Abidal’s cousin live with no liver?


  • biff

    Indeed, was bogus. But even worse was the red card to Pepe Reina (also mentioned above), who after making a save against Newcastle was intentionally tripped by James Perch. Reina jumped up and put his face in Perch’s face, and Perch swooned to the ground putting his hands to his face as if head-butted. Even the video shows clearly it was a dive, but Reina was still suspended three games. Here’s the video:


  • Helium-3

    I don’t believe Hanhnemann is busy these days :-). Since he’s already in Merseyside, why doesn’t Liverpool give him a few games. I’d rather have a veteran in there than some 21 y.o. kid.


  • The Imperative Voice

    Cuba escaping the US with just one U23 defection is a minor miracle (for them) in itself. They must have been lighting some serious saints’ candles.

    I wonder if the guy realizes this is not like the Bigs, the recent soccer defectors have seemed to end up playing in the minors for chicken feed for a substantial period while immigration is sorted. Alvarez took almost three years til MLS, and even the vaunted Alonso played a minor league year.


  • Wendell Gee

    I was thinking the same thing. I think there may be ways to donate a piece of a liver? Though I thought that only worked from adults to very small children.


  • ben in el cajon

    I think you can donate part of a liver. Any doctors who can give a more complete answer?


  • JG13

    After all these years, I never knew all those rafts of people were just a feeder system for MLS.


  • heff

    That is an interesting take on it. I’ll take that of King Kenny though. Even he had no defense for Reina, saying Pepe deserved red after watching the tape. Even Reina apologized to his teammates.

    Though I will relent, as it must be tough to see the world clearly through red tinted glasses.


  • bcoug

    He still has his liver. Recall your grade school biology – the liver has regenerative properties. Only a piece of the donor’s liver needs to be removed. Its not without complications for all involved, but you don’t need a dead donor.


  • Joseph D'Hippolito

    Another Cuban players defects during a soccer tournament in the United States.

    Ozzie Guillen must be in apoplexy.

    In other news…

    1. Pope is Catholic

    2. Sun rises in east

    3. Cricket is India’s national sport


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