Lionel Messi has bitten back at comments made by Barcelona’s director of football Eric Abidal, who criticised some of the club’s players for their work ethic under former manager Ernesto Valverde.
Abidal risked turning Barcelona into a pantomime when he hit out at certain players this week, suggesting he was left with little alternative when replacing Valverde earlier this season and appointing former Real Betis boss Quique Setién.
“The relationship between the coach and dressing room was always good, but there are things that as an ex-player I can sense. I told the club what I thought and we had to make a decision.”
The director of football’s comments haven’t sat well with Barcelona captain Messi, who angrily responded to Abidal – a former teammate during his playing career – in a surprising post on his Instagram story.
“Those in charge of sporting direction should also face up to their responsibilities and above all take charge of their own decisions.
“Lastly, I think that when you talk about players, you should give names because otherwise, you are tainting everyone’s name and feeding rumours that spread and are not true.”
Messi responds to Abidal re: Valverde’s sacking: “I think everyone has to be responsible for their own jobs and take responsibility for their decisions… when you talk about players, you should give names because if not, you’re feeding things that people say and aren’t true” pic.twitter.com/nYDSPyY515
— The Spanish Football Podcast (@tsf_podcast) February 4, 2020
On top of disagreements with Barcelona’s hierarchy, it’s also emerged that Messi has actually been playing through an injury over the last few weeks.
ESPN reports Messi’s been ‘playing through the pain’ for several weeks to help lift some pressure amid an injury crisis for Barcelona, which has seen Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele ruled out.
For more from Ben Carter, follow him on Twitter!