Barcelona asks Blatter to intervene on Messi issue

July 26th, 2008 - 6:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, July 26 (Xinhua) FC Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has asked FIFA President Sepp Blatter to resolve the issue of whether to send Lionel Messi for the Olympic Games. Guardiola took advantage of the press conference following his side’s 6-0 win over Hibernians in Edinburgh late Thursday night to make his point, which was reported in Diario Sport Friday.

Messi, 21, has been called to represent Argentina in Beijing and clubs are obliged to release players who are under the age of 23. Nevertheless Barca believe they have the right to keep Messi, because they have to play a vital Champions League qualifying tie in August and Blatter earlier hinted that sides would be allowed to keep players in such situations.

Guardiola asked Blatter to end the ongoing stalemate once and for all.

“It is as simple as Blatter saying ‘Messi is staying’ and the case is closed, or ‘Messi is going,’ and the question is also closed. The question is starting to grow tiresome and the lad (Messi) doesn’t deserve to go through all this. We want him to be able to concentrate and FIFA have to decide now,” said Guardiola.

Meanwhile speaking on Catalan TV station TV3 club President Joan Laporta insisted that Barca needed Messi to play for them.

“It will be resolved by agreement. We have the truth and the law is on our side and the Argentinian Football Association will have to realise that we have to play a qualifying round for the Champions League. We are talking about two very important games and we need Leo (Messi) to be with us,” he said.

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