Abidal opens up on fight with Messi at Barcelona


Former Barcelona sporting director, Eric Abidal, has opened up on his ‘fight’ with team captain, Lionel Messi, during his time at the club.

Abidal and Messi were involved in a very public dispute over the sacking of former Barcelona manager, Ernesto Valverde, last year.

The former defender had accused Barcelona players of not working hard enough for Valverde, implying that they asked for him to be sacked.

But Messi hit back, saying that Abidal needed to take full responsibility for his decision.

Reacting to the development, Abidal, who was sacked following Barcelona’s 8-2 Champions League embarrassment against Bayern Munich last season, has now insisted he was right to make his initial claim.

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“I think I was correct,” Abidal told the Telegraph.

“They needed to train harder, in my opinion. In my time with 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.”

He added, “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.

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“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.

“I don’t have to fix anything with Messi, our relationship has not changed from my point of view. From his point of view, I don’t know, but, for me, the situation is over.

“We have exchanged many messages and he knows what I think. I didn’t want to turn a small situation into a global situation and put the whole club in trouble.”

Abidal spent six successful years as a player at Barcelona between 2007 and 2013.

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