The former defender believes Barcelona thrive when the Argentine is on top form and hinted he could return to Camp Nou in a non-playing capacity
The French defender spent six years playing at Camp Nou with the Argentine before leaving for Monaco in 2013, while Messi has remained with the Catalans.
Although he has lost out on the past two Ballon d’Or awards, Messi has been in excellent form in 2015 and Barcelona have closed the gap at the top of La Liga to just one point behind Real Madrid with a run of 10 consecutive wins.
“Messi is at 100 per cent, he has been at the level everyone expected of him this year,” Abidal told ESPN. “He is still scoring all of the time and he is still a phenomenon.
“The big players will always be big players, but they are not machines. That goes for Leo, too, but when he is in form then everything goes well for Barca.”
Abidal is back in the city of Barcelona having retired from professional football at the end of 2014 and is working for his charitable foundation which helps children with cancer.
Regarding rumours that he could be employed in some capacity at Camp Nou in the near future, he added: “The club and I are very close, they are part of my family.”
Luis Enrique’s men are in La Liga action on Sunday when they host Levante. They are back competing in the Champions League last 16 on February 24 with a visit to Manchester City, who they knocked out of Europe last season.