Barcelona have denied that former president Sandro Rosell illegally bought a liver for ex-France defender Eric Abidal.
Abidal, 38, who is now the club’s technical secretary, had a transplant in 2012 after a tumour was found in his liver.
The French defender required a transplant during his time at the Camp Nou and it was said at the time that the liver was donated by his cousin Gerard, however it is now being claimed that this was not the case.
According to a report in El Confidencial, Rosell acted illegally to ensure the player received an organ transplant.
On April 20, 2017, the newspaper state that Rosell spoke to an unknown person in a phone call and that they discussed the situation, with the caller revealing that he had explained the situation to new Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
“I asked [Bartomeu] if he had a minute and I explained it to him and he got angry,” the caller reportedly said.”We had sold [the idea] that it was the cousin.”We paid him two years of contract, what was remaining.”Exactly one week later there was another phone call, this time with someone known as Juanjo, and the pair discussed Abidal, referring to him as “a son of a bitch”
Then, on April 28, 2017, Juanjo and Rosell spoke again and it was during this phone call that it was suggested the liver had been purchased.”Abidal is a son of a bitch and he told me to tell my friend that he’d behaved poorly with him,” Juanjo told Rosell.”I told him, ‘look Abi, if you’re here and talking then it’s because you have a new liver, do you understand?'”And he told me no.
“Well, if you don’t understand that then you don’t understand anything about life.”The call ended, before resuming again shortly afterwards.”I told Abidal ‘if you’re here sitting talking with me right now then it’s because somebody bought you a liver, eh?'”At that point they agreed to meet the following week and they said their goodbyes.Barcelona, though, have denied that the claims made are true.
“There was no type of irregularity in the player’s liver transplant,” a club spokesperson said.”We have complete confidence in the Hospital Clinic and don’t doubt Abidal’s honour or that of his foundation.”
Reports in Spain claim Rosell, who was arrested for money-laundering in 2017, purchased the organ.
Barcelona say they “roundly deny any irregularity in the matter”.
The claim has also been denied by Abidal and the Hospital Clinic de Barcelona, where the player had the operation.
Barcelona added: “The club are saddened by the lack of rigor in the spreading of such information about such a sensitive issue.”
Abidal, who spent six seasons at the Nou Camp, made his comeback for Barcelona in April 2013 before joining Monaco three months later.