Lionel Messi hits out at Barcelona sporting director and former team-mate Eric Abidal over his claim that players got Ernesto Valverde the sack. The Argentine star insists ‘those responsible off the pitch must also assume their responsibilities’
According to Daily Mail, the most important player in Barcelona’s history, Messi, rarely gets embroiled in controversy but he took to Instagram on Tuesday to respond to claims made by Abidal in an interview that ‘many players were not satisfied’ with Valverde.
Messi posted: ‘I honestly don’t like doing these things but I think everyone has to be responsible for their tasks and take care of their decisions.
‘The players [have to be responsible for] what happens on the pitch and we are the first to recognize it when we did not do things well.
‘Those responsible off the pitch must also assume their responsibilities and above all take responsibility for their decisions (…) I think when he [Abidal] talks about players, he has to give names because if not he is tarnishing everyone and fueling speculation that is not true.’
Messi’s shock response to Abidal’s comments come just a day after revelations in Diario AS that two Barcelona players had a training ground disagreement last week as tension at the club rose over Valverde’s sacking.
After Quique Setien lost his first away game against Valencia 10 days ago it made for an uneasy atmosphere at the club’s Joan Gamper training ground and AS reported that last Tuesday two players squared-up to each other after one had been guilty of showboating the other.
Pressure eased on coach Setien on Sunday when Barcelona beat Levante 2-1 to move back to within two points of Real Madrid at the top of the table. But the coach was asked after the game why in the last couple of matches players have stopped joining in a pre-match huddle.
Abidal said of Valverde’s sacking in his Sport interview: ‘A lot of players were no satisfied and did not work hard [with previous coach]. And there was also an internal communication issue. The coach-dressing room relationship has always been good, but there are things that I can sense as a former player. I told the club what I thought and a decision had to be made.’