Monday Kickoff: Abidal makes Barcelona return; Neuer targets Bayern treble; and more

Monday Kickoff: Abidal makes Barcelona return; Neuer targets Bayern treble; and more

South American Soccer

Monday Kickoff: Abidal makes Barcelona return; Neuer targets Bayern treble; and more

EricAbidalGerardPique (Getty)


There are always plenty of soccer stories that make you shake your head, but this one shows the determination of the human spirit.

Eric Abidal made his return to the field for Barcelona for the first time since a liver transplant last year, coming on in the 70th minute for Gerard Pique in Saturday’s 5-0 win over Mallorca.

It was the first match played by the French international since February 2012, when he was told that despite having a part of his liver removed to get rid of a tumor, he would need a transplant. Abidal returned to first team training last month and it was only a matter of time before he’d see first-team minutes once he reached that point.

After the match, Abidal revealed a shirt that said “Thanks my cousin, Number 13”, in reference to his cousin, who donated part of his liver for the transplant surgery last April.

Here are some more stories to get your Monday kicked off:


Bayern Munich wrapped up their 22nd Bundesliga title on Saturday, but goalkeeper Manuel Neuer isn’t satisfied with just one title this season.

The German side is still alive in both the German cup (DFB-Pokal) and UEFA Champions League, and Neuer believes that the squad should win at least one, if not both, of the remaining trophies to bring back to Munich.

“At the moment, we can be proud of what we have done in the league,” Neuer told the German publication Kicker. “But if we only end up with one title, we will all be disappointed.”

It was the first league title for the 27-year-old in his second season at Bayern Munich, after moving over from FC Schalke.


Argentine club Arsenal de Sarandi have paid a fine of $20,000 to make sure several of their players avoid charges from police after a fracas broke out last Wednesday during Arsenal’s match at Atletico Mineiro in Brazil.

The Brazilian police force came on the field as many Arsenal players surrounded the referee at the end of the 5-2 win for Mineiro, before a couple of unidentified players began pushing and kicking at the police. Seven players were held for questioning after the match.

The fine was agreed and paid this past weekend, according to the report, with help from the Mineiro club.


Mario Balotelli was caught smoking in a train bathroom while his AC Milan squad were on their way to Fiorentina. (REPORT)

Manchester United have agreed a £120 million (approx. $184 million) deal with AON for naming rights to the United training ground. (REPORT)

Hoffenheim goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes broke a bone in his left hand and will miss the rest of the season. (REPORT)

Dutch club PSV is likely to let manager Dick Advocaat go at the end of the season and promote assistant Phillip Cocu to manager. (REPORT)

Real Betis midfielder Beñat is looking to move to a bigger club this summer. (REPORT)


What do you make of these reports? Do you believe that Abidal returning is the feel-good story of the season? Do you see Bayern winning three titles this season? What do you make of the United training ground sponsorship?

Share your thoughts below.

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