Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has put aside the rivalry between his club and Real Madrid aside by coming out in support of the Spanish capital's 2020 Olympic bid.
The four-time Ballon d'Or winner has spent plenty of time making Madrid residents miserable in the past, but he sportingly took the opportunity to assist the city's cause this time around.
Draped in the white flag of Madrid, Messi popped up to offer his support at a promotional event in Buenos Aires, where the final decision as to which city hosts the 2020 games will be made by the International Olympic Committee on Sept. 7.
While with Argentina's squad during the international break, Messi said on the bid's Facebook page: "I am with Madrid 2020."
There was controversy in Spain when Messi initially declined to put his name to the Madrid campaign, but Alejandro Blanco, president of the Madrid's 2020 bid, said that scheduling conflicts had previously prevented Messi from taking part in the bid and that it was an honor to have the player's support.
Madrid faces competition from Tokyo and Istanbul to host the 42nd Olympic Games, with the latter being officially endorsed by Turkish Airlines - a commercial partner of both Barcelona and Messi himself. But Messi has avoided a political and sporting storm by siding with the Madridistas -- for potentially the first and last time.
- Sports & Recreation