Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has slammed the club’s sporting director, Eric Abidal, for his comments aimed at the players’ performance under former coach Ernesto Valverde.

Abidal, a former team-mate of Messi, said in an interview with Spanish newspaper Diario Sport that the players were not working hard during the ex-gaffer’s tenure.

The Frenchman said: “Many players weren’t satisfied or working hard and there was also an internal communication problem.

“The relationship between the coach and the dressing room has always been good but there are things as an ex-player that I could smell. I told the club what I thought and we reached a decision [on Valverde].”

But Messi seemed unhappy with the comments and responded, writing on Instagram: “Sincerely, I don’t like to do these things but I think that people have to be responsible for their jobs and own their decisions.

“The players [are responsible] for what happens on the pitch and we are the first to admit when we haven’t been good. The heads of the sports department have to take their responsibilities too and above all own the decisions they make.”

Valverde was sacked last month when Barcelona were top of La Liga.

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