Messi lends support to Madrid's Olympic bid

Buenos Aires, Sep 3 (EFE).- Argentine soccer star Leo Messi spoke out here Tuesday in favor of Madrid's application to host the 2020 Olympics.

"I believe it would be good for sport if Madrid prevails. Not just for what it is as a city, but also for the first-class athletes Spain has," the man many consider the world's best soccer player told Efe.

Messi, who plays professionally for FC Barcelona, met with the president of the Spanish Olympic Committee, Alejandro Blanco, at the installations of the Argentine soccer association after flying into Buenos Aires from Spain.

The striker donned a Madrid 2020 shirt and joined Blanco in front of reporters.

"Leo never refuse to support Madrid's candidacy," Blanco said, seeking to silence complaints about Messi's absence from a video promoting the Spanish capital's bid for the 2020 Summer Games.

"There was a time problem, because he (Messi) was in training" at the time the video was filmed, Spain's top Olympic official said.

Messi's backing is a "great honor," given what "he symbolizes as an athlete and as a person," Blanco said.

The International Olympic Committee is meeting this week in Buenos Aires to decide whether Madrid, Tokyo or Istanbul will host the 2020 Games and to elect a successor to retiring IOC President Jacques Rogge.