Abidal breaks silence on Messi quarrel


Former FC Barcelona director of football Eric Abidal has opened up on his quarrel with club captain Lionel Messi last year.

Abidal, who made 193 appearances for Barcelona during his playing career, served as the club's director of football between June 2018 and October 2020 but saw his tenure blighted by a controversial rift with former teammate Messi.

The tension between the duo stemmed from comments made by the Frenchman following Ernesto Valverde's sacking, which appeared to suggest that the Argentine and his Barca teammates had had a hand in the board's decision to part ways with the beleaguered coach. 

However, Abidal has now clarified what he meant by his comments, and insisted that he still holds a good relationship with Messi despite their public falling out.

"I think I was correct," Abidal told The Telegraph. "They needed to train harder in my opinion.

"In my time with [Pep] Guardiola, it was 'you want the best? Ok, you have to train like the best. You will win everything, only if you do the job during the week' This is what I said. I never said the players wanted to get rid of the coach.

“Messi spoke to me personally as well. We had a strong conversation, but I can accept it. No problem because you have to be transparent.

"I was very comfortable because he was the only player who talked to me like this, the only one. I respect that. I also understand Messi is the captain and he wanted to defend the squad, but I never said that Messi told me to put the coach out. Never."

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