It has been an intense week at Barcelona following a public falling out between Lionel Messi and Eric Abidal.
The club’s sporting director told Sport, per the Guardian, that some first-team players were “unsatisfied” with former manager Ernesto Valverde and didn’t “work much” during his tenure.
Enraged by Abidal’s comments, Messi responded on Instagram by accusing the Frenchman of “dirtying” the players and challenged him to name names.
It is understood that Barcelona president Josep Mariea Bartomeu has spoken separately with Messi and Abidal in an effort to ease the tension.
However, the controversy is unlikely to be extinguished anytime soon.
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Speaking ahead of Thursday’s Copa del Rey quarter-final tie against Athletic Bilbao on Thursday, Barcelona boss Quique Setien said he would do everything possible to ensure the feud didn’t affect his team.
Well, a 1-0 defeat at San Mames indicates that this isn’t something that will merely blow over.
Irrespective of how long the saga drags on, it begs the question: was Messi right to publicly criticise Abidal?
According to former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov, even the most minor of squabbles should stay behind closed doors.
“I played with Eric Abidal at Monaco, he's a nice guy and I was surprised when Lionel Messi criticised the Barcelona sporting director publicly this week,” Berbatov wrote in his column for Betfair.
“There will always be disagreements behind the scenes at a big club. But everyone, from the players to the boardroom, should remember they're on the same team and never make their disagreements public.
“The press is always waiting to pounce and, by going public, you're doing the journalists' job for them.
“Messi is so important to his team that you could say he is Barcelona.
“Players have a lot of power today but I hope Messi and Abidal resolve their differences so that the club can move forward quickly.”
Only time will reveal the extent to which Messi and Abidal’s spat may affect their respective futures at the club.
Per Sky Sports and Marca, it’s believed that Abidal will stay in his job for the time being, while Messi has no intention of leaving Barcelona and wants to see out his current contract until 2021 at the very least.News Now - Sport News