Argentina affirms Messi will attend Beijing Olympics

President of the Association of Argentine Soccer (AFA) Julio Grondona affirmed Friday that forward Lionel Messi will compete in the Olympic Games in Beijing, despite the Barcelona club of Spain concede him for the competitions. Grondona said that "if the technical Sergio Batista calls him (Messi), he will be (in the competitions), because the norms of the Federation of International Soccer Associations (FIFA)" oblige to concede the soccer player under 23 years.

"Without Messi there isn't team for Argentina," Grondona said and he warned that if Barcelona club does not want to concede Messi "it will open an antecedent that will provoke protests from other clubs." In declarations to the Spanish daily Sport, Grondona said that "it's logical that Messi plays for Argentina, because Barcelona club has him the whole year" and "are few competitions Messi can play with his national team." Messi will be 21 years old on June 24 and he has expressed his will to attend the Olympic Games of Beijing, where Argentina will seek to keep the gold medal they won in Athens in 2004.


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