Éric Abidal could not hide his delight after signing for FC Barcelona and said that moving to Camp Nou was like a dream come true.
The French international was introduced to the media on Friday after penning a four-year deal following his move from Lyon for €14m and was grateful to the club for pushing on with the lengthy negotiations.
“It has always been my ambition to play for Barça,” he said. “Now the goal is the same as always, to carry on winning.
“I am proud to be here today. I want to thank all those people that helped to make this all possible.”
After signing Thierry Henry and Yaya Touré earlier in the week, Barça have increased their French contingent and Abidal believes that could ease his adaptation to the club.
“It is important that there is a group that speaks French and we have that link,” he stated before revealing that he sought the advice of compatriot Lilian Thuram before agreeing to the deal.
“I talked to Thuram about the atmosphere. For a new player all the details are important,” he added.
Abidal also saw the chance to play in la Primera as too good an opportunity to turn down, after winning three consecutive titles during his time at Lyon.
“The Spanish league is the level I want to play at,” he said. “I have always wanted to play here and follow the league a lot.”
Barça’s technical secretary, Txiki Begiristain, explained why the club had fought so hard to capture the left-sided defender and believes his arrival will add balance to the squad.
“We want to achieve some balance. If we are going to have great forwards, we also have to be strong at the back,” he said.
“The left-back position is one that could be improved
“Abidal is a player who is incredibly professional, very quick and fits all the criteria. He can go forward and is very strong at the back.”