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Messi backs Madrid ahead of IOC vote

4 September 2013 13:35

Barcelona star Lionel Messi has backed Madrid's bid to host the 2020 Olympics ahead of the International Olympic Committee's vote.

The four-time Ballon d'Or winner has made a habit of piling misery on citizens of the Spanish capital throughout his career courtesy of several outstanding performances for the Catalans against their bitter rivals Real Madrid.

However, prior to the IOC deciding between Tokyo, Istanbul and Madrid at a meeting in Buenos Aires on September 7, the 26-year-old has claimed that success for the latter would benefit the whole of Spain.

"I don't know whether my support will help," he said. "I think it is very important for a city to host the Games.

"I was fortunate enough to participate in the Olympics and it is a fantastic experience for any athlete and I think it could be something very important for the city of Madrid.

"I think Madrid has a good chance for what it (the city) represents, Spain's position in the world of sport, where it has triumphed in many different areas, and that can have an influence too.

"I think it would be good for sport to award Madrid the Games and I support their bid from here."

Messi, who moved to Spain in order to join Barca's academy as a 13-year-old, successfully applied for citizenship in 2005.

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