Eric Abidal confirms retirement, mulls offers from Barcelona, Olympiakos

Eric Abidal has confirmed he is retiring from football, ending his illustrious career after 14 seasons in the professional game.

After picking up 67 caps but missing out on the 2014 World Cup, Abidal, 35, announced he would no longer play for France in August.

By that time he was an Olympiakos player, having left Monaco for the Greek club in July, penning a contract through to 2016.

However, media speculation in France suggested the defender would not continue playing into the New Year, and at a news conference in Greece on Friday, Abidal announced he is hanging up his boots with immediate effect.

"Today is a very important day in my career. I have taken the official decision to end my career as a professional player here at Olympiakos," he said, following in the footsteps of former France and Barcelona teammate Thierry Henry, who retired on Tuesday. "A top-level athlete is the only one who can know when to stop their career, and for me, it is time."

Abidal, who started his career at Monaco in 2000 before moving on to Lille and then Lyon, is best known for his six-year spell at Barcelona between 2007 and 2013, during which he helped the Catalan club dominate Europe.

The defender, who played left-back for much of his career before moving to the centre of defence in its latter stages, won four La Liga titles and two Champions League trophies during his time at the Camp Nou.

After announcing he was suffering with a liver tumour in March 2011, Abidal returned to the pitch with Barca, lifting the 2011 Champions League, but then had to undergo a liver transplant in March 2012.

Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu recently stated Abidal would be able to work with the club again if he so wished once his playing career was over.

Abidal revealed he also had the opportunity to remain in Piraeus, Greece, with Olympiakos, but acknowledged it was too soon for him to declare where his future will lie.

"Barcelona approached me about working for them two years ago, and that's still on the agenda, but I haven't had the offer of a contract. I have exactly the same situation here at Olympiakos," he said.

"In the short term, I am going to rest, enjoy being with my family, and I will take a decision with regard to what comes next in my professional life after that.

"I have spoken to the [Olympiakos] president. He knows I'm open to an offer. My future will be close to that of Olympiakos. When, I don't know, but that is something I want."

Former France international and Olympiakos midfielder Christian Karembeu, who acts as an advisor to the Greek club's president, Evangelos Marinakis, told reporters that Abidal would always be welcome.

"This is a very special moment. He belongs to the Olympiakos family," he said. "The door is open to him, he can come back whenever he wants."