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Lionel Messi explains why he hit back at Eric Abidal

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The captain says he felt attacked by the sporting director

Barcelona v Arsenal - UEFA Champions League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Lionel Messi has given a lengthy interview to Mundo Deportivo where he’s been talking about his public row with Eric Abidal.

The Barcelona captain hit back at the club’s sporting director after he criticised the players for not working hard enough under former manager Ernesto Valverde.

Messi hit back with a post on Instagram challenging Abidal to name names and has explained why he was angered by his former team-mate’s comments.

“I don’t know what went through his head to say that but I responded because I felt I was being attacked. I felt he was attacking the players. And there are already too many things said about this dressing room, how we control everything, that we decide which coaches come and go, that we bring in certain players - and most of this is aimed at me. Like I have the power and make decisions.

“So it bothers me that someone at the club, a director of football... puts the players in the middle of the firing line when a coach has been sacked. It was crazy. The director of football is the one who makes the decisions and should just do his job. That’s why I came out to clear things. I couldn’t allow a director of football to attack me in this way.”

Source | Mundo Deportivo

The row between Messi and Abidal prompted speculation the Frenchman could be sacked by Barcelona, but the club appear to have decided to stick with him for now at least.