Madrid, June 8 (IANS) FC Barcelona have confirmed that former star Eric Abidal will replace Robert Fernandez as the club’s new first team technical secretary after deciding not to extend Robert’s contract, which expires on June 30.
Abidal will officially be presented to the press on July 18 and has the job of helping Barcelona build a more balanced squad than the one which won the Spanish League and Cup double in the recently finished season, reports Xinhua news agency.
The reigning Spanish league champions announced the decision on Thursday.
Although coach Ernesto Valverde led Barca to the double, the lack of adequate replacements in an expensively assembled squad, saw them knocked out of the quarter-finals of the Champions League after a 3-0 defeat in Rome.
Too many of Robert’s signings have failed to perform, despite costing over 40 million euros ($47.05m) and players such as Andre Gomes and Paco Alcacer will almost certainly be on their way over the summer, along with Yerry Mina, who has failed to adapt after joining in the January transfer window.
Others such as Lucas Digne and Aleix Vidal and perhaps Thomas Vermaelen could also leave over the summer leaving Aibdal with a big rebuilding job to do, in which one of his main tasks will be to find an adequate substitute for central midfielder Sergio Busquets.
Former French international Abidal joined Barcelona from Olympique Lyon in 2007 and was a regular in the Barca first team until he was diagnosed with liver cancer in March 2011. A year later he underwent a liver transplant from which he made a full recovery, before ending his playing career with Monaco and Olympiacos, retiring in 2014 after just nine appearances for the Greek club.