Eric Abidal’s reign as Barcelona’s technical secretary is over after he was sacked by the club following a dismal campaign.
The Nou Camp outfit announced the news on Tuesday afternoon and comes just a day after manager Quique Setien was also relieved of his duties.
‘Barcelona and Eric Abidal have reached an agreement for the ending of the contract that united the two parties,’ Barcelona announced in a short statement on their club website.
‘The club would publicly like to thank Eric Abidal for his professionalism, commitment, dedication and the close and positive nature of his relationship with all aspects of the blaugrana family.’
It is a major U-turn from the Catalan giants, who as of Monday insisted that Abidal would lead the club in their search of a new manager.
In their statement to announce Setien’s exit they said: ‘It is the first decision of a wider restructuring of the first team which will be agreed between the current technical secretary and the new coach.’
Abidal’s sacking is the latest part of Barcelona’s upheaval as the inquest continues over their abysmal season.
Barca ended this campaign trophyless and matters were compounded by their humiliating 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich in the one-off Champions League quarter-final tie on Friday.
Abidal has been working at boardroom level at Barcelona since 2018 when he was appointed initially as their technical director.
Last summer he became their technical secretary with Ramon Planes as his deputy, after the departure of Pep Segura and the resignation of vice-president Jordi Mestre.
The former France left back’s decision to sack manager Ernesto Valverde will be seen as a major factor in his own departure.
Valverde was sacked in January despite the club sitting top of La Liga. The decision to dismiss him wasn’t well received by talisman Lionel Messi and tensions between the two became further heightened when Abidal was critical of the Barca squad soon after.
‘Many players weren’t satisfied or working hard and there was also an internal communication problem,’ Abidal told Diario Sport. ‘
‘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 sacking Valverde].’
Abidal’s comments irked Messi who responded on Instagram to defend himself and his team-mates: ‘When you talk about players, you have to give names because if not, it gives air to things which are not true,’ he wrote.
And speaking about his part in the public spat in February, Abidal acknowledged he went about it the wrong way.
‘If I know something and if I have learned anything it is that internal issues are arranged in house and not in the media,’ he told reporters at the introductory press conference for signing Martin Braithwaite.
Abidal’s comments follow Messi’s latest take on the situation in an interview earlier on Thursday in Mundo Deportivo where he said he responded to his former team-mate’s criticism because he ‘felt attacked’.
Messi, who was close to Valverde, said: ‘I don’t know what happened to make him say that but I responded because I felt attacked. I felt he was attacking the players.
‘Too much is said about the dressing room, that we force coaching changes or bring in players, and especially about me – like I have a lot of power and make the decisions. The same happened to me in the Argentine national team.
‘It bothered me coming from someone from the club… to put the players in the middle of the dismissal of the coach seemed crazy. (Abidal) is the one who makes the decisions and has to take charge.’