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Lionel Messi is made happy by Xavi’s influence - Eric Abidal

Pirlo and Xavi Italy Spain

The former Barcelona defender has stated that the veteran midfielder ensures the Argentine is happy at Camp Nou.

Talk of Lionel Messi and Luis Enrique having a bust-up was rife in the European media at the turn of the year, with trouble reportedly in paradise at Camp Nou.

However, despite these rumblings, Barcelona have put any personal issues behind them to blast their way towards a momentous treble, with the Catalans already confirmed as La Liga champions this term.

Four-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi has been a critical member of the Barcelona side to blitz alcomers over the lat five months - but his happiness at Camp Nou is seemingly ensured due to the presence of veteran midfielder Xavi.

Former Camp Nou favourite Eric Abidal has been speaking out about the retired Spain international’s influence at Camp Nou.

The Frenchman has stated that Xavi will have been a key person in smoothing over any issues between Messi and Enrique, while the Catalan club will miss the stalwart should he leave the club this summer.

“He’s a player with lots of experience and people said he would leave last year, but he decided to stay,” Abidal told Cadena SER.

“I think he’s the most important player in the dressing room. I’m sure he hasn’t just been the link between the boss [Luis Enrique] and Leo [Messi], but between the boss and the rest of the players.

“He’s someone who knows how the club works, what big games are like, and the sort of talks that are required.

“He’s been immense for Barca, like [Carles] Puyol was, and is another emblematic player for them.

“He’s always been there and from a young age played at a level that exceeded all expectations. He’s still doing well now and is very professional

“This season he didn’t have as much influence as before because he played less, although every time he came on he made a difference, whether it was for 10 minutes or five.

“He deserves a tribute like no other player.”

The Guardian report that Xavi will announce his Barcelona departure later this week, with the long-serving La Masia graduate no longer a first-team regular.

Barcelona’s treatment of some of their experienced players should have Messi in mind, as keeping the South American maestro happy and at his best should be utmost in the club’s thoughts.

With Messi and Dani Alves close friends, the Blaugrana should be careful in their dealing with the Brazilian over a potential new contract.

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