The Alba leader made the astonishing remark in a US magazine article focusing on Ms Sturgeon and her spectacular fall-out with Mr Salmond over the Scottish government’s handling of harassment claims.
“I think my political opponents – I don’t know, maybe Alex himself ... There was an element of ‘We can break her,’ you know,” Scotland’s first minister told The New Yorker.
“Almost kind of personally as well as politically. That was how it felt. And, you know, there were days when they might have come closer than they knew. But they didn’t.”
When approached by the magazine about Ms Sturgeon’s comments, Mr Salmond reportedly “chuckled,” before adding: “If I wanted to destroy her, that could have been done.”
The SNP leader accused the Alba leader of “an abuse of power” during the interview. Asked if she thought Mr Salmond had acknowledged that he had done anything wrong, she said: “I didn’t get the sense that he had really understood why he should have apologised.”
She added: “And I didn’t get the sense then, and I don’t get the sense now, that he understood the aspect of abuse of power that was at play.”
Mr Salmond and his team expressed their unhappiness with The New Yorker article, claiming he had been taken out of context.
A spokesman for Alba said: “Mr Salmond takes issue with the manner at which the article has reported his views ... Mr Salmond laughed at how ridiculous the suggestion was.
“The context of his comments are that he pointed out that at the parliamentary committee, he specifically stated that he did not think Nicola Sturgeon should have resigned, and he did not go further which he could have done so if he choose to do so ... The New Yorker seemed totally unaware of this.”
The latest BMG Research poll suggested the SNP is on course to win 68 seats at this Thursday’s Holyrood election, which would give Ms Sturgeon’s party a narrow but outright majority.
BMG’s survey gives the Alba Party two seats, while the Greens will pick up nine seats – meaning Holyrood would have 79 pro-independence MSPs out of 129.