Barcelona legend Lionel Messi has recently engaged in a war of words with sporting director Eric Abidal, after the latter suggested that Ernesto Valverde was fired because the footballers were unhappy with him.

Abidal plays an instrumental role in the appointment and rejection of coaches at Barca. Messi believes that Abidal was responsible for January's decision to dismiss Valverde, as well as the appointment of Quique Setien.

The Argentina international said that Abidal must take responsibility for his actions rather than passing the blame onto the players.

ESPN reported that Messi feels he has been incorrectly blamed for the sacking of Valverde. He further said that the sporting director's comments would encourage people to draw untrue conclusions.

Messi said, "I honestly don't like doing these things but everyone has to be responsible for their job and take responsibility for their decisions. When things don't go well on the pitch, the players are the first ones to recognise as much. Those in the sporting department at the club should also take responsibility for their actions and decisions."

Lionel Messi injured against Villarreal
Lionel Messi AFP / LLUIS GENE

Abidal had earlier said that many players weren't satisfied with Valverde and there were also issues related to internal communication.

Although he admitted that the relationship between the coach and the team was good, he also said that an ex-player like him can smell a few things from the outside. Abidal further clarified that he communicated his thoughts with the management and together, they reached a decision.

Messi was among the players who always supported Valverde. The dressing room's immense support was the reason why club president Josep Maria Bartomeu didn't fire Valverde after Barca lost to Liverpool during last year's UEFA Champions League semi-final.

Reportedly, Messi's frustrations have heightened because of other issues. For the last few weeks, the Argentine has been suffering from a thigh problem. However, his form hasn't suffered because of that.

Amid all this drama, a clause in Messi's current contract would allow him to opt for a transfer deal for free at the end of this season, although his contract runs till 2021. However, Abidal recently said that the club president along with CEO Oscar Grau have started negotiations with the aim of extending the deal with Messi.