Tensions have boiled over at Barcelona in recent weeks and Lionel Messi and co were knocked out of the Copa del Rey last night, losing 1-0 at Athletic Club.
Jordi Alba has jumped to the defence of Lionel Messi, following the Barcelona superstar’s spat with sporting director Eric Abidal. The left-back has issued a rallying cry to his colleagues, claiming they all need to pull together to get their season back on track.
New boss Quique Setien suffered another setback last night in the Basque Country, as his side crashed out of the Copa del Rey to Athletic Club following a stoppage-time winner.
After the game, Alba urged Abidal to nip the saga in the bud because it is clearly having a negative impact on the team.
Earlier this week, the Frenchman and former defender claimed that the players could have given more under sacked boss Ernesto Valverde.
The comments were not gratefully received by Messi, who as captain fired back to defend his team-mates.
Alba said after the bitter defeat at the San Mames: “This club gets enough s— thrown at it from the outside so we shouldn’t be throwing s— at ourselves.
“Abidal was a player, he is loved by the fans and that’s why he should know what it’s like inside the dressing room and how players feel.”
Abidal was a former team-mate of Messi, before moving upstairs into the boardroom following his retirement in 2014.
He has been at the centre of the uproar at the club this week, igniting the fire in an interview with Sport.
“Many players weren’t satisfied or working hard and there was also an internal communication problem,” he said.
“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].”
It didn’t take Messi long to hit back, taking to his Instagram to vent his frustration.
Addressing his 142million followers, the Argentine said: “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.”
Messi was also reportedly involved in a disagreement with goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen in training in the build up to the match with Athletic.
Spanish media had documented that there had been an altercation between two unnamed Barcelona players at La Masia.
El Pais have since claimed that the coming together involved both Messi and the German goalkeeper.
Barcelona are currently three points adrift of La Liga leaders Real Madrid, who also crashed out of the Copa del Rey to Real Sociedad last night.
They will face Napoli in the Champions League last 16 later in the month.