Barcelona defender Eric Abidal is set to undergo surgery after doctors detected a tumour in his liver, the club announced on Tuesday.
Abidal will be operated on next Friday at a Barcelona hospital, with no timetable offered on the France international’s return to La Liga.
The 31-year-old, who signed from Lyon in 2007, has made 22 appearances in the Spanish league this term and started in five Champions League games, including every minute of Barca’s last-16 tie against Arsenal.
“Eric Abidal has a liver tumour for which he will have an operation next Friday in the BarnaCl?nic Grup Hospital under the treatment of Dr Josep Fuster Obregon,” a club statement read.
“As requested by the player, the club would like the utmost respect for his right to privacy.”
Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas wished Abidal well on Twitter, writing: “Much encouragement and a lot of strength to Eric Abidal. Bad news for football.”
Brazilian playmaker Kaka, who resides with Barca’s bitter rivals Real Madrid, also offered his support.
“What sad news about Eric Abidal, tumor in the liver! Let’s pray for him, God bless,” he wrote onTwitter.