MADRID Barcelona's dismay at losing 2-0 at AC Milan in Wednesday's Champions League last-16 first leg was offset on Thursday by the news that defender Eric Abidal had been cleared to play after almost a year out to undergo a liver transplant.
"After this morning's training session Eric Abidal has received the welcome news that he has the medical all-clear and is therefore available to the team for the final part of the season," Barca said in a statement on their website (www.fcbarcelona.es).
The 33-year-old left back had the transplant in April 2012 and last featured in a 2-1 win at Atletico Madrid just under a year ago. He returned to training in December.
Barca's next match is a La Liga clash at home to Sevilla on Saturday and they play Real Madrid twice next week.
They host their arch rivals in Tuesday's King's Cup semi-final second leg after last month's first leg at the Bernabeu finished 1-1, and play at Real in La Liga on Saturday. The return game against Milan is at the Nou Camp on March 12.
Barca are 12 points clear of Atletico at the top of the league with 14 games left, with champions Real a further four points back in third.
(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Clare Fallon)