Supporters in the Camp Nou gave him a standing ovation in the 22nd minute, the same number as his shirt, as Abidal was operated on after his cousin Gerard had donated a liver. The 32-year-old had surgery to remove a tumour in March, 2011 and returned to the side for the last six matches of the season, including the Champions League final victory over Manchester United at Wembley, but it is unclear how long he will be out for this time.
Speaking after the Getafe game, Barca boss Pep Guardiola said the next few hours would be vital for the French international.
“I have just been told the operation is almost finished and the next few hours will be critical. It was a very, very long operation and we must be very cautious,” said Guardiola, who insisted he was confident Abidal would make a successful return to playing.
“I am sure he will return. Not having him available to play is not what is important. He is irreplaceable for us and we don’t have a substitute. He gives us an unlimited range of possibilities.”