Former Barcelona star Eric Abidal was the victim of an ugly Twitter rumour on Friday, as ‘news’ spread that the footballer’s cancer had returned and he was retiring from football.
Abidal, 34, was diagnosed with a tumour in his liver in 2011, but managed a full recovery, playing 90 minutes in that season’s UEFA Champions League final, as Barca triumphed over Manchester United, 3-1.
The following season, Abidal then had to have a liver transplant as a result of complications in his surgery - it was a testament to his popularity in the Barcelona squad that teammate Dani Alves offered to donate part of his own liver to the cause.
And then today, sympathetic tweets began flying in from football fans across the world thanking the former French international on a great career...the only problem was, nobody stopped to check if the rumour had any merit behind it.
Sad news today, Eric Abidal has announced his retirement from Footbal after getting cancer for third time. Good luck with your fight Eric — FootieTip.com (@FootieTips) March 28, 2014
The player himself announced on his official Twitter account on Friday night Australian time that the story was false, and that he was “training and thinking about the next match”. The rumours were fuelled by the player’s omission from manager Claudio Ranieri’s squad for the weekend.
The Lyon-born defender has played for France 67 times, including the World Cup final in 2006, where his national team lost to Italy in a penalty shootout.
After leaving Barcelona in 2013, Abidal moved back to Ligue 1 in France to play for big spenders Monaco, his former club, alongside the likes of Falcao and Ricardo Carvalho. He is currently the captain of the team.
Entertainers such as Bill Cosby and Eddie Murphy has been recent victims of ‘death hoaxes’.