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Lionel Messi tells former team-mate to 'name names' after Barcelona dressing room criticism

The Argentine superstar is not happy with sporting director Eric Abidal.

Lionel Messi (file pic).
Lionel Messi (file pic).
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

LIONEL MESSI has responded to Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal after the Frenchman blamed slackness in the dressing room for the departure of recently-fired coach Ernesto Valverde.

In an interview with Spanish daily Sport, Abidal claimed that under Valverde, who was sacked in mid-January, many players had been unhappy, hadn’t worked hard enough nor communicated properly.

With the Catalan club hoping he agrees a contract extension, the Argentine superstar addressed the comments of his former team-mate, who retired from the game for personal reasons in 2014.

“Sincerely I don’t like doing this kind of thing but everyone has to be made responsible for their actions and what they say,” the star commented on Instagram.

“We the players in the dressing room are the first to admit it when we haven’t played well. The directors need to take their responsibilities too.

I believe that if you talk about the players (in this way) you should name names instead of worrying everyone and encouraging rumours that are far from certain.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Abidal had spoken glowingly of Messi and had sounded optimistic of an extended deal 

“I’m sure we’ll come to a deal with Leo because he knows we need him. He’s on top form, enjoying his game and breaking records,” the former defender said.

“We as a club want to make him even happier and to do that by surrounding him with the right teammates. We want a strong team with a good everyday feeling and above all we want to win titles.”

Messi signed his last extension in 2017, with his current deal running through to 2021 but reportedly containing a clause that could allow him to quit Barcelona in June.

Additional reporting by AFP

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Paul Fennessy

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