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Main » 2013 » May » 31 » La Liga : Barcelona - Malaga

La Liga : Barcelona - Malaga

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Barcelona will bid an emotional farewell to defender Eric Abidal after their clash with Malaga at Camp Nou on Saturday.
The 33-year-old joined Barca from Lyon in 2007, and has endured a tumultuous couple of years as health scares threatened to end his career prematurely.

The Frenchman was diagnosed with a tumour in his liver in March 2011, and he underwent surgery to remove it before recovering to play a full game in Barca's 3-1 win over Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League final that year.

In March last year it was announced Abidal would need to undergo a liver transplant, which took place in April, and again the gritty defender fought back to play again, making his comeback in March.

Now Barca have announced they will not offer Abidal a new contract, and the emotional nature of his press conference on Thursday to announce his departure will no doubt be replicated against Malaga on Saturday.

Barcelona need to win in their final match to reach the magical 100-point mark, which was achieved for the first time by Real Madrid last season, while Malaga will also be motivated as they look to make sure of a place in the UEFA Europa League for next term.

Malaga are sixth, the final Europa League place, two points clear of Real Betis, who are away to Levante in their final match.

Their presence in Europe, of course, will be dependent on whether the Court of Arbitration for Sport will overturn their ban from continental competition for failure to pay wages and taxes on time.

The Andalusian club will also be saying a farewell on Saturday, with coach Manuel Pellegrini set to depart the club at season's end - most likely to join English powerhouse Manchester City, who he has verbally agreed to join.

Barca will again be without Argentine marvel Lionel Messi, who has a hamstring injury, with David Villa and Alexis Sanchez likely to be used up front.

Both men will be sweating on the arrival of Brazilian wonderkind Neymar, who will probably relegate them to the bench, in conjunction with a fully fit Messi.
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