Eric Abidal says it's a pleasure to be back at "second home" Barcelona as he's named club's technical secretary

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Eric Abidal is back at Barcelona.

Eric Abidal has promised to bring his fighting spirit back to Barcelona after being unveiled as the club’s new technical secretary.

The 38-year-old former Barca defender, who successfully battled liver cancer during his five-year spell as a player at the Camp Nou, has been handed the role – the equivalent to a director of football in England – as the club attempts to deliver success both at home and in Europe.

Speaking at a press conference, Abidal said: “As well as my experience in the football world, I know this club and its players very well. It’s a question of bringing the values I have always maintained.

“It’s a pleasure to be back at FC Barcelona, it’s like my second home. I thank the club for entrusting me with such an important job.

“I am a Barca man, I want to give everything for the club, for the fans, for the players.”

Barca won La Liga for the third time in four years last season, leaving arch-rivals Real Madrid 17 points adrift, but could only look on as the men from the Bernabeu completed a hat-trick of Champions League triumphs.

Abidal, who revealed he has held preliminary talks with manager Ernesto Valverde over the club’s summer business, said: “When you are the technical secretary of a club, that’s the mentality to have, a winning one.

“We need to put the club in that direction – that’s for everybody. The club’s objective is to create a competitive team.

“I just want to bring my experience. I have been a player, I have been inside the dressing room. I’ll be here to take important decisions for the team and the club.”

Antoine Griezmann is staying at Atletico Madrid.

Antoine Griezmann is staying at Atletico Madrid.

Abidal’s appointment came amid the fall-out from Barca’s ultimately unsuccessful bid to lure striker Antoine Griezmann away from Atletico Madrid, with vice-president Jordi Mestre expressing his regret over the saga.

Mestre, who added that the club would be speaking to defender Gerard Pique about his company’s part in the production of the video in which Griezmann revealed his decision, said: “As a club, we respect any player’s decision to decide their own future.

“We had officially informed Atletico Madrid of our interest in the player. Barca wants players who are committed and determined to triumph here, above and beyond any other circumstance.

“That said, we’re very sorry and we regret that there are members and fans who may have felt disappointed by the way the final decision played out.”

Mestre declined to go into greater detail on Griezmann, saying it would show “a lack of respect” to Abidal, and the former France international was not about to be drawn into the debate when asked what the striker’s non-arrival might mean for compatriot Ousmane Dembele next season.

Abidal said: “I’m not here to talk about Griezmann. We know Dembele is a player who has a lot of talent. We want to have all our players, not just Dembele, at 100 per cent.

“But first, he wants to have a great World Cup with the national team and then he can rest and come back to the squad to training and keep moving forward.”

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Dembele is comparable to Pele, Cruyff and Zidane, says Barcelona legend Xavi

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Barcelona great Xavi Hernandez has showered praise on young sensation Ousmane Dembele.

The 21-year old is currently part of France’s squad at World Cup 2018 and is looking to make a mark after having a tough first season at Barca, hindered by injuries, following his switch from German club Borussia Dortmund.

“He came to the club with a lot of pressure, when he needed time to mature,” Xavi said.

“Barca are a very demanding challenge for a young player but have potential. His humility and desire to work hard play in his favour.”

The former Spanish World Cup winner then went on to compare Dembele’s abilities with some of the greats the game has seen in the past.

“He does the same things as Di Stefano, Pele, Cruyff, Maradona or Zidane at a time when the game doesn’t give you as much time to think as before,” Xavi told Football Espana.

France will take on Peru in their next Group stage fixture on June 21.

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Barcelona's Gerard Pique comes under fire after Antoine Griezmann confirms Atletico stay

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Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has come under criticism after many questioned his role in the documentary where in Antoine Griezmann announced he was staying at Atletico Madrid.

Pique is an investor in production company Kosmos Studios which made the documentary “The Decision,” released on Thursday, that featured the French striker.

The 31-year old had done a little promotion from his side as well – tweeting an emoji of popcorn with the words “ready to watch ‘The Decision’ tonight,” prior to the documentary being shown on Spanish pay-per view service.

The Spanish star later tweeted, after his Griezmann’s decision was made public, while taking a dig at the Barcelona media that had reported Griezmann’s move to the Camp Nou was a done deal.

“The most important lesson of ‘The Decision’ is that, sometimes, not everything they sell you is true,” he wrote.

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