F.C. Barcelona defender Eric Abidal will undergo a liver transplant in the coming weeks, the club confirmed.

During the next few weeks, the player will undergo a liver transplant as a result of the progress of his liver disease, said the club in a statement. A transplant was considered an option from the start of his treatment a year ago.

At the express wishes of the player, the Club asks that the maximum respect for the player's privacy be observed.

Abidal had surgery to remove a liver tumor in March 2011 and recovered in enough time to play in the Champions League semi-final against rival Real Madrid  two months later. His presence on the field in the last two minutes drew loud cheers from the crowd.

The club's announcement has made Abidal's chances at playing in the European Championship doubtful. 

On the one hand there are some things that are much more important in life than football. We should think about him and his health, said France defender Philippe Mexes to RMC radio. I hope with all my heart that everything goes well for him and that he can be with us at the Euro. He has experience, amazing qualities.

We hadn't spoken about it [his illness] much, Mexes added. Maybe he was afraid of worrying us, but I'm staggered [by the news].

Abidal made his international debut in 2004 playing for the French national team. He played in two World Cups and the 2008 European Championship. He was traded from Lyon to F.C. Barcelona in 2007.

In January he signed another deal with F.C. Barcelona that extended his contract to 2013 with the possibility of an extension for two more years.

On his role at F.C. Barcelona, Abidal once said: As a defender, my aim is to infuriate the opponent. I want him to be so sick of the sight of me that he has to move somewhere else on the pitch to get away.