Messi eager to play in his last Olympics

July 20th, 2008 - 5:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, July 20 (Xinhua) In probably his last appearance in the quadrennial event here next month, Argentine football prodigy Lionel Messi is confident that his team will be able to defend its Olympic title in Beijing. The Beijing Olympics only allow footballers under the age of 23, except for three over-age players for each side.

Messi, 21, and tagged as “new Maradona”, says he is looking forward to represent his country in his last Olympics.

“The Olympic Games are something I will never be able to play in again and I am very excited at the prospect,” Messi said earlier.

“There is no doubt that I will be there. I have really high hopes with the Olympic squad,” he said although Barcelona wanted him to play for the Champions League preliminary.

Messi has emerged as the star player for Argentina in recent times. In 2005, he became the then-youngest-scorer for FC Barcelona club in a La Liga game against Albacete.

The same year in June, Messi led the Argentina to win the Under-20 World Cup and also clinched both Golden Ball and Golden Boot titles. In 2007, he was second in the list of FIFA World Player of the year, when he was only 20.

The Olympic tournament starts Aug 6 with the final slated for Aug 23.

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