Messi and Abidal

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has engaged in a war of words with Eric Abidal after he suggested Ernesto Valverde was fired because the players were not happy with him.

Messi believes Abidal, Barcelona sporting director, who plays a huge role in appointing and sacking at the club, is passing the buck on January’s decision to dismiss Valverde and replace him with Quique Setien.

The Argentina forward says Abidal should take responsibility for his own actions.

Messi also complained that he had spoken about players in general without naming anyone in specific.

“I honestly don’t like doing these things but everyone has to be responsible for their job and take responsibility for their decisions.

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“When things don’t go well on the pitch, the players are the first ones to recognise as much. Those in the sporting department at the club should also take responsibility for their actions and decisions.

“Finally, I think that when you speak about players, you should have to give names. If you don’t, you’re dirtying everyone’s name and encouraging things which are said which are not true,” Messi wrote on Instagram alongside a screenshot of Abidal’s interview with Diario SPORT.

Abidal had said: “Many players were not satisfied or working a lot [under Valverde] and there was also an issue with internal communication.

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“The relationship between the coach and the dressing room was good, but there are things that an ex-player can smell. I told the club what I thought and we reached a decision.”

Sources have revealed that Messi feels he’s been incorrectly blamed for Valverde’s sacking and that the sporting director’s comments will encourage more people to draw false conclusions.

However, Messi’s frustrations off the pitch have been heightened by his struggles on it. Earlier on Monday it was revealed that he had a thigh problem for a few weeks, although his form has not been hit massively and the club are optimistic about managing the discomfort.