Lionel Messi was right to hit out at Eric Abidal, according to former Barcelona striker Rivaldo.
“Leo Messi’s reaction last Wednesday in which, through his social pages, he criticised Eric Abidal, seems normal to me,” he said via Betfair.
“Messi has every right in the world to be angry with Abidal over the way in which he complained about the professionalism of some players in training, especially when he did not mention any specific name.
“That called the whole squad into question. It’s hard to talk about this situation from the outside, but Messi just tried to defend the group and himself, maintain his reputation and – at the same time – find out which players Abidal was referring to.
“The latter was naive in saying something like that in an interview that, of course, would have a big impact in the media, forcing Messi to react.
“These types of problems should be solved internally. Abidal didn’t do it on purpose but, ultimately, he has hurt the club.
“It’s now clear that Ernesto Valverde was not the biggest problem for the club. The biggest loser in all of this is Barca.
“Abidal and Messi should have a conversation, as good people. Abidal is in a difficult situation, especially because the player who reacted to his comments is not just anybody: he’s the captain of Barca and a superstar. He’s Leo Messi.
“Simply getting back on the road to victories will calm all this.”
“Barcelona need to find a player who makes the difference when Messi isn’t there or it’s not his night, as happened at San Mames,” he added. “The club should look for a player to accompany him and replace him when necessary and, in my opinion, Neymar is that player.
“Barca should perhaps continue considering signing him next summer. The club isn’t responsible for Neymar leaving a couple of years ago.
“It’s been a while since then and perhaps it’s time for negotiations that allow him to return and spend the best years of his career at Camp Nou.”