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Eric Abidal signs with former club Monaco

Jul 8, 2013, 11:30 AM EDT

FC Barcelona v Malaga CF - La Liga Getty Images

Former Barcelona defender Eric Abidal has signed a one year contract with AS Monaco with an option for a second year.

The 33 year old has been a free agent since his contract at Barcelona expired in June and the Catalan club denied offering him a new deal.

As Pro Soccer Talk hypothesized during his tearful goodbye press conference at Barcelona, Abidal will now return to Monaco, where he began his professional career back in 2000.

More: The future of Eric Abidal following his release by Barcelona

Abidal’s career was derailed in March 2011 after being diagnosed with a liver tumor, which required surgery two days later. The Frenchman made a speedy recovery and was back playing for the Blaugrana later that spring, notably starting the 3-2 victory over Manchester United in the Champions League final.

But one year later it was announced that Abidal needed a liver transplant. In April 2012 he underwent the procedure and subsequently spent 12 months sidelined before returning in last April’s match against Real Betis. Abidal went on to make five appearances with Barcelona in the last two months of the season.

Abidal announced he had returned to Monaco on his official Twitter account, writing: “I am very happy to have returned to France and Monaco, where it all began for me.”

Abidal joins Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez, Ricardo Carvalho, Jeremy Toulalan and Joao Moutinho as notable players who have signed with Monaco this summer.

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