Madrid brought together some of Spain’s sports stars to help its bid to host the 2020 Olympics, but it struck out with the biggest name of all — Lionel Messi.
Madrid 2020 approached Messi to participate in a promotional video for the bid, but the Argentine’s agents turned it down, according to Inside The Games, citing Madrid 2020 and Spanish Olympic Committee president Alejandro Blanco.
Messi “felt he ought not to support Madrid 2020,” Blanco said, according to the report.
Messi plays for FC Barcelona, the biggest rival of Madrid’s top club, Real Madrid.
Madrid 2020 already received support from Real Madrid’s biggest star, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as basketball player Pau Gasol, tennis player Rafael Nadal and retired cyclist Miguel Indurain, all Spanish icons in their sports.
“There is absolutely no problem if a sporting figure does not want to take part,” Blanco said. “We have to respect the decision of the best player in the world.”
Madrid, Tokyo and Istanbul are the finalists to host the 2020 Olympics. The International Olympic Committee will choose from the three at a vote in Buenos Aires on Sept. 7.