In a message on the player’s Facebook page, Hayet explained that she was writing at the Barcelona defender’s request and posted:
“Eric and his cousin Gerard were operated on in Barcelona and at the moment everything is fine. He wants to thank everybody for all the messages received, for all your support and the strength it has given him. Thankyou.”
The 32-year-old received part of his cousin’s liver at a Barcelona hospital after a lengthy procedure understood to have lasted around nine hours, with the player’s agent David Venditelli saying after visiting him that the news received so far was “hopeful”.
“We know that the next few hours are vital for everything to go well,” said Venditelli. “Eric has asked me thank the Catalan people, the Spanish people and the entire world for the messages of support he has received wishing him a swift recovery.”
Club officials have indicated he will eventually return to action, but experts in Spain believe playing top-flight football again may pose a danger if he picked up a knock to his abdomen and triggered further complications.