What Lionel Messi said about Eric Abidal row, Barcelona controversy in in-depth interview

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Lionel Messi has sat down for an interview with Mundo Deportivo, and the Barcelona legend has covered various current talking points.

The Catalan giants remain in the hunt for the La Liga title and Champions League this season, but there have been some unwanted distractions off the pitch in recent weeks.

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Messi didn’t shy away from addressing them in his in-depth interview with Mundo Deportivo, where he responded to questions about his public row with sporting director Eric Abidal, as per the Guardian, and gave his thoughts on Barcelona’s denial amid reports of hiring a company to attack players on social media, as noted by BBC Sport.

Naturally, the 32-year-old will hope that his comments put the matters to bed in terms of his involvement, and he will want to now focus on what’s happening on the pitch moving forward.

Barcelona face Eibar this weekend as they look to continue to apply pressure on rivals Real Madrid in the La Liga title race, before they then travel to Napoli in the Champions League next week.

“It really took me a bit by surprise because I wasn’t here and I was travelling [to Dubai]. When I got back I learned a little about everything,” he told Mundo Deportivo. “The president told us the same thing he said in public; the same thing he said at the press conference. What was the situation, what had happened and I can’t say much more. Just as you know everything he said, he told the captains the same in private.

“I really find it strange that something like this has happened. But they also said that there would be evidence. We will have to wait to see if it is true or not. We cannot say much and we will wait to see what happens with all of this. I really thought it was a strange subject.”

Meanwhile, Messi also explained why he felt as though he needed to respond to Abidal, as he uncharacteristically took to social media to issue a reaction after Abidal’s criticism of the players in the wake of Ernesto Valverde’s departure.

“I don’t know what happened to him [for him] to say that, but I think I responded because I felt attacked,” he added.

“I felt that he was attacking the players. And too many things are said about the locker room, that it handles everything, that it puts in and takes out coaches, [and] brings players [to the club] and especially [about] me. Like I have a lot of power and I make decisions. And it bothered me for a person from the club, a sporting direcor, to say that … to put the players in the middle of a dismissal such as that of the coach seemed crazy.

“He is the sporting director who makes the decisions and has to take charge. He is the one who makes the decisions. That’s why I went out to clear things up, I knew I couldn’t let the sports director attack me like that.”

All concerned will hope that’s the end of the two respective matters now, as the situation can’t be helping Barcelona in their pursuit of success this year.

With Messi adding in the interview that he’s happy at the Nou Camp, that will also come as a major relief to Barcelona fans as the row with Abidal coupled with this latest drama perhaps raised question marks for some over whether or not it could be pushing him closer to the exit door.

Credit to the Argentine superstar for conducting the interview and answering honestly, as he surely could have easily just stayed away from it and allowed the speculation and rumours to build.

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