Lionel Messi: Eric Abidal to keep Barcelona sporting director role despite criticism

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Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal is to keep his job at the club despite being criticised by star forward Lionel Messi. Six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi spoke out against Abidal after he had said players were not working hard under former coach Ernesto Valverde.

Valverde was sacked in January and replaced by Quique Setien. Barcelona called an emergency meeting with ex-France defender Abidal on Wednesday to discuss the issue. After two hours of talks, it was decided the 40-year-old would remain in his role at the Nou Camp.

Abidal, a former team-mate of Messi, made the comments in an interview with Spanish newspaper Diario Sport. But on Tuesday, 32-year-old Argentine Messi responded: “When you talk about players, you have to give names because if not, it gives air to things which are not true.”

Valverde was sacked when Barcelona were top of La Liga.

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