Lionel Messi has asked Eric Abidal to “give names” after the Barcelona sporting director criticised the club’s players over their work ethic.
Abidal, a former team-mate of Messi at Barcelona, suggested players in the Barcelona dressing room were unhappy and not working hard enough under previous coach Ernesto Valverde – who has since been replaced by Quique Setien.
“A lot of players were not happy and did not work much and there was also a problem with internal communication,” he told Sport.
“The relationship between the coach and dressing room was always good, but there are things that as an ex-player I can sense. I told the club what I thought and we had to make a decision.”
Messi responded to the comments on social media telling the club’s senior officials to take responsibility for their own actions and warned them against tainting the entire squad with criticism which may be directed at certain individuals.
“I honestly do not like to do this kind of thing but I think that everyone has to be responsible for their job and take responsibility for their decisions,” Messi said on Instagram.
“Players for what happens on the field, we are also the first to acknowledge when we don’t play well.
“Those in charge of sporting direction should also face up to their responsibilities and above all take charge of their own decisions.
“Lastly, I think that when you talk about players, you should give names because otherwise you are tainting everyone’s name and feeding rumours that spread and are not true.”
Abidal and Messi played together at Barcelona between 2007 and 2013, with the French defender returning to the club after retirement to become sporting director in June 2018.
Barcelona currently trail leaders Real Madrid by three points in La Liga following a 2-1 win over Levante at the weekend.