Lionel Messi Performs Olympic U-Turn by Declaring Support for Madrid 2020

September 4, 2013

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has publicly admitted to supporting Madrid’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games after appearing to support Istanbul’s bid.

The 26-year old appears in advertising for Turkish Airlines, one of Istanbul 2020’s biggest supporters and plays for Real Madrid’s greatest rivals, leaving some to believe he did not support the Spanish capital’s bid.

Messi has now appeared wearing a Madrid 2020 t-shirt and holding one of their flags to show that he does in fact support their bid.

Alejandro Blanco, President of Madrid 2020 urged the Argentine to publicly support the bid at Argentina’s training camp.

After the plea, Messi said: “I think Madrid’s bid offers many great possibilities for the city and for demonstrates Spain’s passion for all sports.

“I think it is good for sport if Madrid is awarded the Games – not only for the city, but also for the top-level athletes in Spain.

“It is very important to host the Olympics in the country where I live.I was very lucky to participate in the Olympics for Argentina and it is an amazing experience for all athletes.”

It appears that Messi’s refusal to back Madrid 2020 was over contractual issues with Turkish Airlines rather than his rivalry with Real Madrid.

Blanco commented: “Leo Messi never refused to support the Madrid bid. There was a problem of availability, because he was training when the promotion was shot.

“It is a great honour for us to have Messi’s personal support especially for what he stands for as a sportsman, for his sport and as a person.”