BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- Barcelona defender Eric Abidal will undergo a liver transplant in the coming weeks, the club announced Thursday.
The European champions said on their Twitter feed that the transplant "is an option that has been considered since the beginning of his treatment, one year ago."
The 32-year-old French international had a tumor removed from his liver on March 17, 2011, but returned to play the end of the season and showed few lingering effects since then.
In a tribute, he was chosen to lift the club's fourth European Cup at Wembley after helping Barcelona beat Manchester United 3-1 in the final last May.
Abidal has been a regular in the team since joining from Lyon in 2007, scoring once from 177 appearances and helping the Spanish and world club champions win 13 trophies in that period.
The club said the player had requested his right to privacy and confidentiality be respected.
Abidal was one of the players Barcelona hoped to have back from injury for its league match against Sevilla this weekend. It was not immediately clear if the player would now be sidelined.
Abidal injured his groin while playing a midweek friendly for France two weeks ago.