Lionel Messi hits back at Eric Abidal, ignites war of words with Barcelona chief

Things appear to be going from bad to worse for Barcelona, after captain Lionel Messi got involved in a war of words with his former team-mate, now club sporting director, Eric Abidal.

It’s believed that the relationship between the players and the board has been strained for some time, but Abidal’s assertion that players weren’t working hard under Ernesto Valverde has been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

MORE: Lionel Messi transfer odds: Man City favourites for Barcelona superstar’ signature, Man Utd & Liverpool behind Euro rivals

“Many players weren’t satisfied or working hard and there was also an internal communication problem,” Abidal said in an interview with Diario Sport, quoted by Eurosport.

“The relationship between the coach and the dressing room has always been good but there are things as an ex-player that I could smell. I told the club what I thought and we reached a decision (on Valverde).”

Messi, was in no mood to be quiet and play ball this time. Via an Instagram post, again detailed by Eurosport, he said; “Sincerely, I don’t like to do these things but I think that people have to be responsible for their jobs and their own decisions. 

“The players (are responsible) for what happens on the pitch and we are the first to admit when we haven’t been good. The heads of the sports department have to take their responsibilities too and above all own the decisions they make.

“Finally I think that when you talk about players, you have to give names because if not, it makes everyone dirty and gives air to things that are said which are not true.”

It’s rare that Messi comes out in public to criticise the running of the club, and it puts Abidal’s role at the club in almost certain jeopardy.

The Barcelona board have always appeared to have done whatever is necessary to keep Messi happy, whether that’s a continual uplift of his contractual arrangements or buying players to complement his own game.

It’s unlikely that they’ll take too kindly to his outburst, but if it’s a straight shoot out between Messi and Abidal to be given the old heave-ho, there’s surely only one outcome.

Barca Twitter has exploded at the news too, with these fans clearly taking Messi’s side:

More Stories eric abidal Ernesto Valverde Lionel Messi