No.22: Éric Bilal Abidal

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Éric Bilal Abidal is a French defender of Martiniquean descent born on July 11, 1979 in Lyon.

He started his professional career with AS Monaco on September 16, 2000.After 22 first-team appearances, he moved to Lille OSC. At the end of 2004, he returned to his native region by joining Olympique Lyonnais, which had just won its second successive Ligue 1 championship. During his time in France he was considered one of the best fullbacks in the Ligue 1. On 30 June 2007, Abidal moved to Barcelona for €15 million, after repeatedly stating that he would not return to training if he did not get the move, signing a four-year contract and taking the number 22 jersey, as the number 20 he wore at Lyon was already taken by Deco.Abidal’s contract contains a €90 million release clause, and Lyon will receive an extra €500,000 if Barcelona win the Champions League in any of the next four seasons.

Abidal has earned 31 caps with the French national team, having earned his debut cap on August 18, 2004. Despite numerous injuries and disagreements with FIFA in the past few seasons, Abidal played on the French team in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, starting at left back and playing every minute of the tournament with the exception of France’s match against Togo, from which he was suspended after earning two yellow cards over the previous two games.

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