Lionel Messi has risked re-opening his row with Eric Abidal after criticising the Barcelona sporting director once again in public.
The Argentine recently launched a scathing attack on Abidal via Instagram after he had accused the players of not working hard enough under previous boss Ernesto Valverde.
Not only were the pre-existing divisions at the club deepened, it even prompted renewed speculation about Messi's departure.
The forward can leave Camp Nou for nothing this summer due to a clause in his contract.
Manchester City looked to be the front-runners for his signature as one of only a handful of sides who could afford his wages, but that was before their two-season Champions League ban was implemented.
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The 32-year-old has since confirmed he always intended to stay in Catalonia, though he admits he has concerns about his current side's ability to win the Champions League due to their "stupid mistakes".
However, while it will come as a relief to Abidal's ears to hear that he has not inadvertently pushed the six-time Ballon d'Or winner towards the door, the bad blood is not over as Messi once again confronted him for calling out the squad.
“I responded because I felt attacked. I felt that he was attacking the players.
"Too many things are already said about the dressing room, like that we control everything, that we choose the players and [what happens to] the coaches; and [it’s said] about me especially: that I have lots of power and decide things."
Messi was "annoyed" and "hurt" and added:
"I couldn’t let the sporting director attack me in that way.
“It’s said a lot that I take decisions, that I run [the club], and that’s not true. I don’t know why [that gets said].
"But it has been proven, I think, that I have my opinion and the club has its opinion and a lot of the time they are not the same and they don’t do what I say.”
It seems we are unlikely to get a response from Abidal this time.
The former Barca defender received a private dressing down from president Josep Maria Bartomeu over the issue and, at the presentation of emergency striker signing Martin Braithwaite, he told reporters:
"If I know and I have learned something it's that the internal issues are arranged internally and not in the media."
Messi is now holding all the cards.News Now - Sport News