After just one season back in France, Barcelona legend, Eric Abidal has left AS Monaco and joined Greek side Olympiakos. It comes only days after his contract was extended by the French side, but Monaco’s behaviour had left a bad taste in Abidal’s mouth and the former France international decided he couldn’t stay as part of the club.
The U-Turn surrounds Monaco’s attitude towards one of Abidal’s good friends and former Barcelona team-mate, Victor Valdes.
The French side were all set to sign the Spanish goalkeeper on a free transfer for the new season, but after Valdes failed a medical the move was cancelled.
Valdes, 32 years old, damaged his cruciate ligament during a match against Celta Vigo last season, and the goalkeeper had travelled to the principality in order to prove his fitness.
Monaco’s vice-president Vadim Vasilyev confirmed the move is off.
‘Victor Valdes is injured and won’t join us,’ he told reporters.
Vasilyev backed up the statement by declaring the club’s faith in current No. 1 ‘keeper, Danijel Subasic. Monaco have also signed u-20 star Paul Nardi, with the young goalkeeper returning to Nancy on loan for the season.
At the press conference where Vasilyev declared the move cancelled, they also announced the extension of Ricardo Carvalho and Abidal’s contract. These were automatic options as part of their original contracts, but behind the scenes Abidal was less than happy.
Très content d'avoir signé à l'olympiacos. Merci pour l'accueil et votre confiance. pic.twitter.com/gRbtvwtSag— Eric Abidal (@EAbidalOfficial) July 5, 2014
With what he believed was mistreatment of his friend and former team-mate, Abidal quickly decided that he didn’t want to be part of the French club’s plans, and began the quick negotiations with Olympiakos.
World Cup winner Christian Karembeu is an advisory at the Greek club and he is thought to be the man behind making the deal happen so quickly.
Although Abidal wasn’t expected to play every game in the new season, the former Lyon and Barcelona defender would have provided great experience to the defence going into the Champions League campaign this season.
The way the move for Valdes fell through and the decision for Abidal to leave will cast doubts over the current project at Monaco. There are doubts that they can maintain the challenge to PSG in the league and build upon their second place finish last season.
The goalkeeper will now look for a new club, with Arsenal and Manchester United the most recent English clubs linked with the Spanish international.