squad | 2016-10-20
Eric Abidal: 'CR7 was out injured, a problem for France and an advantage for Portugal (laughs)'
In our exclusive press conference with Eric Abidal, he answers questions about the club, his opinion on the Euro final and what he thinks about Umtiti.
Grup 14 member, Gabriel Narr met Eric Abidal on Wednesday and was able to attend a press conference to interview the Barça legend. The full transcript of the presser can be read below:
Q: How did it feel during the final in 2011 when Puyol gave you the captain armband?
Eric Abidal: "It was a fantastic and amazing moment. I think everyone knows how difficult the situation was and to come back on the pitch and what Puyol but actually not only Puyol but the team did for me was unbelievable and to have this opportunity to lift the trophy. It was not the Champions League Trophy for me but the trophy for all the fans and my family because they gave me all the support. I was very happy for them, not for me."
Q: What was your favourite moment with the club?
Eric Abidal: "The best moment, I don't know. I think maybe the Champions League day in Wembly was one of the best moments of my career but also when I signed my first contract when I was nineteen or twenty years old because it was my dream to be a football player. It was difficult but I achieved my goal and I fought everyday to achieve new goals and win trophies."
Q: Was life easy after you retired?
Eric Abidal: "No it was not easy. I was a football player for many years and everyday was the same, we train, come back home, eat and sleep but now it is different. I enjoy my life now but it's different. Every morning I have to go to school with my daughters, it's something different but I have to do it and I love to do it. Now I am studying and getting my Masters for management to help people and give back to football and I am enjoying time with my family. I'm working and I am on TV because I love football. When you play football you know exactly how the players feel on the pitch so you can explain and sometimes many people speak about the games but they have never played football, the mentality is different."
Q: What do you think about the 2016 Euro final?
Eric Abidal: "With the organisations like Uefa, it's totally different. There's more opportunities. But now we look at Portugal, you don't have to play good, you just have to win. Penalties or not, you just have to win. If you win then you continue in the competition. This is the competition and you have to have the correct mentality. France had a good tournament, they were unlucky because if Gignac scored then it would have been finished, give us the trophy. Ronaldo was out because he was injured and it was a problem for France and an advantage for Portugal (laughs). Portugal was more relaxed without Ronaldo, the players there normally play for Ronaldo but without him the team spirit is different, there was no stress. But for France, it was a shock because Ronaldo is not on the pitch, we have to fight more. Look who scored the goal for Portugal, some guy from the back who has never played before. This is football, when it's your time then it's your time."
Q: Who are your best-friends in football?
Eric Abidal: "Is there a camera? (laughs). Maybe Ribery because the first time in the National team, every player had a room and we were always together. We are more than friends. Then of course there is Dani Alves, you know my story- he wanted to give me his liver but it is a different relationship. I have many friends and they are all good."
Q: Who is the best player from the past, the present and the future?
Eric Abidal: "Messi always, but before him then for me it is Beckenbauer. He is a smart guy. Also maybe Maradona- he was a great striker."
Q: What message would you give the younger players now?
Eric Abidal: "I am a good example. I started young and one guy from Monaco he taught me football. If you want money then you have to play football and play good, if you don't play good then bye bye. Eat, play then sleep, sleep more, sleep, sleep, sleep, It's good for you and good for football, The message is enjoy your time on the pitch, you have time and when you're 30-35 years old then football is finished so enjoy your time on the pitch. Enjoy your life. You have to focus on your goals then you can achieve at least 70% of those goals but if not then bye bye. I played with some players and two years later they were finished, I can't name who they were. They go to play for money and they change. They don't even go to play for the first team or the second team- their careers are finished. It's like a job, you have to work to recieve your salary, it's not salary before the job right? Football is the same- you have to play first."
Q: What do you think about Umtiti?
Eric Abidal: "He is 23 years old. He is training with the best players and he can have a good future but it always depends on the player and what he can achieve. It depends on his goals and his mentality. He is playing with the best club in the world. He plays with the national team and paved the way for many more years. Football is complicated but he has a good place. He has talent and he is lucky, he is also very humble."