Lionel Messi has sensationally hit out at Barcelona director of football Eric Abidal after he suggested some players were not working hard enough prior to Ernesto Valverde's dismissal.
Abidal granted several interviews to Spanish media outlets on Tuesday and, in a chat with Catalan publication Sport , the Frenchman outlined the thought process behind Valverde's sacking in January . He revealed they began to consider a change of coach after 0-0 Clasico draw at home to Real Madrid on December 18, with the former left-back claiming he and his colleagues had identified "many players weren't satisfied nor working hard and there was also an internal communication problem."
But Messi, who is rarely at the centre of controversy at the club, has called Abidal out over his comments, telling him he should name individuals rather than tar everyone with the same brush.
Writing on his official Instagram account and specifically highlighting a section of Abidal's quotes, Messi said: "I honestly don't like to do these things, but I think everyone has to be responsible for their tasks and take care of their decisions.
'All getting dirtied'
"The players [are responsible for] what happens on the pitch and we are also the first to recognise when we are not playing well. Those responsible for the area of sports management must also assume their responsibilities and especially for the decisions they make.
"Finally, I think that when talking about players we should give names, because if not we are all getting dirtied and feeding things that are said but aren't true."
Barca is next in action on Thursday in the Copa del Rey quarterfinal against Athletic Bilbao — coach Quique Setien is due to address the media in his usual pre-match news conference on Wednesday, with the comments of Abidal and Messi likely to be high on the agenda.