Abidal was first diagnosed with a tumour on his liver in March 2011 and after briefly returning to the first team, was ruled out for over a year to undergo the transplant.
As a tribute to Abidal, who was surprisingly not offered a new contract by Barca at the end of last season, Alves has changed his squad number from two to Abidal’s old number 22 this season.
However, the 34-year-old has revealed their friendship went even much further than public displays of support. “My relationship with Dani goes much further than him taking my old number 22 shirt,” he told Catalunya radio.
“When I had to undergo surgery, he wanted to donate his liver. Logically, he couldn’t because he is a professional footballer. Our relation goes much deeper than friendship.”
In a recent interview Abidal caused controversy by saying that Barca hadn’t paid him whilst he had been ill. Those allegations were denied by the club.
Abidal admitted there had been a misunderstanding and that he will most likely return to the club to work with their football development team once he has retired.