After Barcelona were knocked out of Copa del Rey by Athletic Bilbao on Thursday, Spanish left-back Jordi Alba has backed Lionel Messi in his clash with the club’s technical director Eric Abidal.
In an interview with Sport on Monday, Abidal claimed that some Barca players were no satisfied with the former coach’s appointment and did not work hard under Valverde. He added that there was also a communication issue between the Spaniard and the players.
According to the club chief, Barcelona players were unhappy with Valverde’s methods and this led to the Catalan giants’ struggle this season. Abidal said he made his feelings known to the board and clearly felt a change was needed which led to the exit of the manager.
However, in an Instagram post on Tuesday, Messi accused Abidal of falsehood and misrepresentation. He insisted that each member of the football club must be responsible for their tasks and take care of their decisions.
The club captain also asked Abidal to “give names” after the latter criticised the club’s players over their work ethic. Messi also felt Abidal’s decision to go public was an error given how he had spoken for each individual player.
However, the row between Messi and Abidal reached another level on Wednesday as Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu had an urgent meeting with Abidal to discuss his future.
Speaking to reporters after Barca’s shock cup exit, Alba advised Abidal to understand that players are under pressure and are doing their best to win games. He also encouraged all members of the club to remain reunited during a difficult period.
“This club gets enough sh*t thrown at it from the outside so we shouldn’t be throwing sh*t at ourselves. Alba said.
“Abidal was a player, he is loved by the fans and that’s why he should know what it’s like inside the dressing room and how players feel.”
Also speaking to reporters, Sergio Busquets said the row between Abidal and Messi was not responsible for the club’s ouster from the competition. He also commended the players for a great performance.
“We showed that we are a team and that’s what we need to keep on doing,’ he said.
“I think we put in a great performance, one of the best of the season. It’s a real shame we conceded the goal so late but that’s what football is like. I’m very proud of the team because of how well we played.”
Also reacting to the club exit, defender Gerard Pique urged his team-mates to unite and continue to work as a single unit despite the row between Messi and Abidal
‘Everyone knows what they’ve done wrong and right,’ he said.
‘From there, we have to keep working, not throwing things in our faces from now until the end of the season, because it doesn’t help.
‘We have to focus on our style of play and on winning; at this club, we have been founded on victories and we have to return to that path.
‘The unity of the dressing room is incredible. It’s not the time to dig up dirt, which all clubs have.
‘What I can say is that our confidence is at its highest, we’re happy with the way we’ve played and reacted to the outside noise.’