Eric Abidal was signed in the summer of 2007 as a replacement for Gio. While he is a natural left back, Abidal can also play as a center back when necessary with his combination of footballing skill, positioning and tactical awareness as well as his semi-legendary runs up the wing in support of the forwards.
Futbol Club Barcelona is Abidal's first team outside France and he arrived at the club after strong interest from Arsenal. Despite being pursued by Italian clubs also, he refused to move there because he feels the game in Italy is still too racist. His move to Barcelona is under a four year deal and on arrival in his new team was unable to assume is usual number 20 due to it already being worn by Deco and he wears 22 instead.
He moved from Olympique Lyon, who Barcelona have faced in the 2007-08 Champions League, with who he won the French league title on three occasions in a row (2004-5, 2005-6, 2006-7), as well as the French Cup of Champions twice (2004-5, 2005-6). As part of the deal to move to Barcelona, Lyon will gain half a million Euros if the Catalan team win the Champions League in the next four years. Previous clubs also include Lyon-La-Duchere, Monaco and Lille.
The player, who is of Martinique decent, was considered one of the best fullbacks in the country and played for the French national squad on more than 20 occasions, including being part of the team that were runners up in the 2006 World Cup.