Abidal was a tactically intelligent and versatile defender, capable of featuring as a centre or left back due to his positional sense and his ability to read the game. In his prime, he was also quick and strong which, along with his technical ability and distribution, allowed him run up the wing to assist his team offensively as well as defensively. On 15 March 2011, Barcelona announced that Abidal had been diagnosed with a tumour in his liver, and the player underwent surgery two days later. Citing privacy concerns as wished by the player, the club did not release additional information in regards to his condition. In response to the announcement, players and fans around the world dedicated well wishes to him on various social networking service and sports websites. Before their round-of-16 match in the Champions League, both Real Madrid and Lyon players took the pitch wearing Ánimo Abidal (Get Well Abidal) T-shirts, with the same message being displayed on the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium’s scoreboards, in a show of support and solidarity. During Barcelona’s match with Getafe CF on 19 March 2011, the fans at the stadium clapped for the entire 22nd minute (the player’s shirt number). On 28 May 2011, in the Champions League Final against Manchester United, he played the full 90 minutes of Barcelona’s 3–1 triumph and, in a gesture to mark his recovery, Carles Puyol handed him his captain’s armband and allowed him to be the first to lift the trophy in front of 85,000 people at Wembley Stadium in London. On 15 March 2012, it was announced that Abidal would have to undergo a liver transplant because of problems which were unresolved with the previous operation. On 10 April he underwent surgery, with his cousin Gérard being the donor. On the same day Barcelona beat Getafe 4–0, and the victory was dedicated to the player in the post-game press conference; he later revealed that his friend and teammate Dani Alves offered to donate part of his liver for the transplant, but he denied because it would have affected the latter’s playing career. On 21 May 2012, Abidal was released from hospital to resume the recovery process at his home, and doctors revealed that he could still play football in the near future if he wished. He returned to training in the Pyrenees in October 2012 but, the following month, he stated that his priority was a return to full health rather than resuming his football career. On 18 December 2012, Abidal was given the green light to start training again, and he returned to active in January of the following year. On 19 March of the following year he played 65 minutes for FC Barcelona B in a practice match with FC Istres.