Abidal set for long-awaited return

Barcelona defender Eric Abidal has been given the go-ahead to resume his playing career after almost 12 months on the sidelines, it was announced Thursday.

Abidal had been recovering from a liver transplant that took place last April and previously had surgery to remove a tumor in March of 2011.

After participating in some light training with the Catalan club in October, the 33-year-old was admitted to the hospital last month for further observation. But with no complications, the France international has been cleared to resume full training.

"After training this morning, Eric Abidal has received the good news that he has been given his medical discharge and is therefore available for the team going into the final part of the season," read a statement on the official Barcelona website.

Abidal's last appearance for Barcelona was on February 26, 2012 against Atletico Madrid.