Barcelona's Lionel Messi has put club rivalry aside and spoken out in support of Madrid's bid to claim the right to host the 2020 Olympics.

The Argentine's backing comes ahead of Saturday's vote in Buenos Aires when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will choose between the Spanish capital, Tokyo, and Istanbul.

Madrid only just missed out on becoming the host city for both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and will hope that Messi's support may signal a change in fortunes.

"I don't know whether my support will help," said the Ballon d'Or holder wearing a shirt with the Madrid logo.

"I think it is very important for a city to host the Games.

"I was fortunate enough to participate in the Olympics and it is a fantastic experience for any athlete and I think it could be something very important for the city of Madrid.

"I think Madrid has a good chance for what it represents, Spain's position in the world of sport, where it has triumphed in many different areas, and that can have an influence too.

"I think it would be good for sport to award Madrid the Games and I support their bid from here."

Perhaps controversially, Messi is also a brand ambassador for one of the main backers of Istanbul's bid, Turkish Airlines.

Ahead of Saturday's vote, Tokyo, which last hosted the Games in 1964, are odds on favourites with the bookies to win the bid.

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