Barca give Messi Olympic clearance

Lionel Messi's Spanish club will allow him to play at the Olympics for Argentina.

    Lionel Messi looks set to represent Argentina
    at the Olympics [GALLO/GETTY]
    Barcelona striker Lionel Messi has been given approval by his Spanish club to join defending champion Argentina if his country wants him to play at the Beijing Olympics in August.

    "We've already talked it out,'' Messi told La Red radio from Spain.

    He said he saw nothing that would prevent him from travelling to Beijing as along as he remains health and injury free.

    "I've spoken with many players (on the Athens team) and all told me it was a special experience, very different and very beautiful,'' Messi added.

    Argentina won the Olympic title four years ago but coach Sergio Batista has yet to announce a roster for the August 6-23 Olympics.

    Still, an available Messi is likely to be a boost for Batista in his roster search.

    Olympic rosters are limited to players 23 years old and younger, although each team can supplement its side with three players of any age.

    However, Fifa does not require club teams to release any players for the Olympics, including U23s.

    Already, Bayern Munich has announced it will not made defender Martin Demichelis available.

    Meanwhile, it remains unclear how many others playing in Europe will be available.

    Among those considered possible are Sergio Aguero of Atletico Madrid, Fernando Gago and Gonzalo Higuain of Real Madrid, and Ezequiel Lavezzi at Napoli.

    Argentina begin their campaign August 7 in Group A with Australia, Ivory Coast and Serbia.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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