Many Barca fans will be conflicted as they wake up this morning.
Hearing Leo Messi leave Eric Abidal out to dry is pretty unsavoury to put it mildly. What’s interesting is how supporters have been quick to side with Leo and blame the current board for Abidal’s appointment.
Many will have forgotten, or simply not known, that Abi was also Joan Laporta’s choice as sporting director were he to have won the 2015 elections.
Clearly, therefore, the Frenchman was seen as a safe pair of hands in that role.
Yes, for balance in this particular argument, it’s worth saying that Abidal hasn’t been quite the success that I’m sure we all hoped he would be.
A line appears to have been drawn in the sand for those that still love Abi the player and cancer survivor, but have their head in their hands when thinking about Abi the sporting director.
Without covering the old ground which we are all already well aware of, it’s sufficient to say that he’s made mistakes, and he’d admit the same.
However, it’s inherently wrong for any captain of a club, least of all the best in the world on both counts, to come out publicly and essentially throw down the gauntlet to a member of the technical department.
Lionel Messi hits out at Barcelona's Sporting Director and former team-mate Eric Abidal pic.twitter.com/8FCBU48YE5— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 4, 2020
Whilst I’m not saying Leo has no right to his opinion, which naturally carries more weight than most in that dressing room, how many times do we hear, from almost every football club when there is a disagreement, that things will, and must be, dealt with in-house.
It’s long been contended, as much by supporters as anyone, that the team haven’t been ‘at it.’ That their sharpness and edge have disappeared.
So everybody on Barça Twitter has been complaining for years that players are not working as hard as they should, but now that Abidal said this openly and got attacked by Messi, everybody on Barça Twitter says Abi "sold out" and is a "puppet" of the board...— ᑳarçalεv (@Barsalev) February 4, 2020
Ernesto Valverde was always the scapegoat and the one who was blamed.
Yes, he should absolutely take a large portion of the blame for collapses against Roma and Liverpool, and for implementing a style of football which went against the grain, but the players have to front up too - and that includes Messi.
He is not beyond reproach or criticism.
When Abidal was interviewed, he gave his honest opinion which, again, should’ve been said behind closed doors and directly to those to whom he was referring.
What's worst is the damage done Abidal's relationship with his ex teammates. Tbh what happened in the last few hours makes me sad. I want to remember this guys in another light pic.twitter.com/P2z5uRg0Dm— adil (@Barca19stats) February 4, 2020
But in dealing with the fall-out, the correct thing for Messi to have done would’ve been to speak with Abi and or president Bartomeu in private, and to strongly air his grievances there if he felt it necessary.
In opening another can of worms at a time when Barca can ill afford such negative publicity, Messi has actually done much more harm than good.
And that’s not a great look for him either.