Eric Abidal was released by Barcelona today less than two months since the defender made an emotional comeback from liver transplant surgery. The French defender spent the better part of a year sidelined after the surgery and made a handful of appearances at the end of this year's campaign.
Abidal's contract was set to expire in June and he had been hoping to receive a new deal from the club, however Barcelona decided to go another direction.
The defender spoke at a press conference today that was attended by head coach Tito Vilanova and the team's four captains.
"It's a very difficult day for me, I have played for Barca for six years and it's been the biggest experience of my life.
"I understand and respect the decision of the club. I'm going, but I'll be sure to return. I want to thank all the fans of the club who have supported me and have been looking after me. The team is my second family. We have gone through a lot together and I'll remember this forever."
Abidal has expressed his desire to continue playing should his health allow it but he has another option should be choose to hang up his boots. Club president Sandro Rosell announced he'd offered Abidal a technical director role with Barca overseeing the team's football academies.