bundesliga

Eintracht Frankfurt's David Abraham makes emotional Bundesliga farewell

Eintracht Frankfurt captain David Abraham played his final Bundesliga game on Matchday 16 of the 2020/21 season, ahead of his belated return to his native Argentina to be with his family.

Frankfurt’s 3-1 win over Schalke was Abraham’s 185th appearance of a Bundesliga career that began at Hoffenheim eight years ago.

"In January 2013, I played my first game in Germany for Hoffenheim, in Frankfurt," Abraham recalled in an interview with kicker magazine. "I can remember looking at the fans and the backdrop from the bench - it was unbelievable, incredible. The fans created a real atmosphere and got behind their team for the whole game.

"That’s when I thought: 'Man, it’d be great to play for Eintracht one day'. Two-and-a-half years later, the offer came in."

Julian Nagelsmann (l.) was still learning the ropes as a coach when Abraham (r.) was at Hoffenheim between 2013 and 2015. - imago

Abraham had already played for Independiente in Argentina, Spain’s Gimnastic and Getafe, and Swiss giants Basel, when he made the switch to the Bundesliga, aged 26. The Chabas-born defender had won the FIFA U20 World Cup with Argentina, as well as three three successive Swiss League titles and two Swiss Cups whilst at Basel.

After racking up 50 competitive appearances in a Hoffenheim shirt, he got the chance to add to his trophy collection with Frankfurt.

"That was the all-time best for me," Abraham said of the 2017/18 German season, which culminated in Frankfurt beating Bayern Munich 3-1 in the DFB Cup final, having finished runners-up to Borussia Dortmund 12 months earlier. The Argentine played the full 90 minutes, despite fracturing an ankle earlier in the year.

Those that got to know the terrier-like Argentine during his five-and-a-half year stint in Frankfurt wouldn’t have expected anything less.

"I’ve rarely seen a player with as strong a mentality as David," current Frankfurt head coach Adi Hütter said ahead of Abraham’s final curtain call. "It’s also impressive that he still has that pace at his age.

"I’ve got to know him as a very empathetic person. He’s been an incredibly important player for the club."

As well as playing in two DFB Cup finals with Frankfurt, Abraham was also part of the side that beat relegation via the play-offs in 2015/16. - imago

All told, Abraham turned out 178 times in all competitions as a Frankfurt player. The 34-year-old scored five goals and assisted seven, inheriting the captain’s armband from club legend Alexander Meier on a full-time basis at the start of 2017/18.

Such has been his commitment to the Eintracht cause, he postponed his impending departure by six months, having initially planned to leave the club in summer 2020.

"Because of the corona pandemic, I’ve put in an additional six months to ease the transition,” Abraham explained.

"It’s been very difficult being on my own, especially with no one from Argentina being allowed to visit because of Covid-19. Knowing that I’ll be back by my son’s side from January has been an extra motivating factor for me."

Although Abraham will lace his boots for hometown club Huracan Chabas in the months ahead, he hasn’t ruled out returning to Frankfurt in some capacity down the line

In the short-term, it will be as one of their biggest fans - as it was all those years ago in the Hoffenheim dugout.

"I see it as a 'see you later' rather than a 'goodbye'," he said. "I’ll always find time to come back and visit."