Éric Abidal claims former Barcelona teammate Dani Alves offered to donate his liver when the Frenchman required a life-saving transplant.
Abidal, now at Monaco, underwent an operation in April 2012 after suffering a bout of hepatitis as his cousin, Gerard, provided part of his liver.
Alves has changed his squad number to 22 in homage to Abidal, who spent five years at Camp Nou, and revealed the Brazilian's extraordinary gesture.
"My relationship with Dani goes much further than him taking my old No. 22 shirt," 34-year-old Abidal told Catalunya Radio. "When I had to undergo surgery, he offered to donate his liver. Of course, it’s completely out of the question because he is a professional footballer. Our relationship goes much deeper than friendship."
Following Barça's 2011 Champions League victory over Manchester United at Wembley, Abidal was designated the role of captai to hoist the trophy, having had a tumour removed from his liver two months previously.
Abidal won four Primera Liga titles, two Copa del Reys, two Champions Leagues and two Club World Cups with Barça.