Changing China

Giant on the move

Messi likely to miss Olympics

August 6, 2008

News just out that the Court of Arbitration for Sport has ruled in favour of Barcelona and decided they will not have to release Argentine forward Lionel Messi for the Olympics.

Assuming Barcelona do not have a change of heart, it means one of the biggest-name athletes at the Games will not be taking part. Brazilians Diego and Rafinha, of Werder Bremen and Schalke 04, will now also presumably be going home.

As Brian Homewood writes, the presence of Messi has helped raise the profile of soccer at the Olympics enormously. His departure will be a big blow to Argentina, and to all those hoping hoping to catch a glimpse of the man.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said recently that Barcelona and other clubs should let their players stay and compete in the Games even if CAS were to rule in their favour. Let’s see what Barcelona say. 

We’ll have more on this later.


A few days ago, Schalke stated that they won’t call Rafinha back, even if the CAS ruled in their favor. Bremen said something similar as well.


I hope they stick to what they had said before the ruling, Jan. Yes, this is the same Diana who regularly reads The Bundesliga Offside. :) I remembered that FIFA President Sepp Blatter was just saying on Monday that even if the ruling is in favour of the clubs, they should still allow their players to take part in the Olympics.

Given when I was watching the women football group match between Germany and Brazil much earlier on TV here (I happened to be just flipping the channels and saw that it was on), the cameras did aimed at Ronaldinho, Diego and co. at the stands at one time. The guys watching their female counterparts in action. It was then I remembered that the CAS ruling will be known today.

Posted by diana | Report as abusive

Barca will almost certainly let Messi stay. They will then want the favour returned when Argentina play friendlies later in the season so that he can play in the league.

Posted by Simon | Report as abusive

The bigger question is, would you even want to continue playing for a club that has not allowed you to represent your country on the global stage. This is something that obviously means a lot to these players and part of the responsibility of a club is to keep their players happy.

Posted by clement | Report as abusive

Thanks for those comments. I hadn’t seen that from Schalke, jan. And Simon, I guess that makes sense from Barcelona. They could come off looking rosy with a “grand gesture” in letting him stay.
Clement, I agree that Werder in particular would be running a huge risk. I’m not sure how long they can expect to keep Dieg anyway.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

Messi will be playing for Argentina in the World Cup. The Olympics just has second or third tier footballers.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

That’s a pitty. I hope Barcelona let Messi play the Olympics football torunament.


It’s good that CAS overrules FIFA, but I still think players who wanna play should be aloud to


Nice post. Btw were aware that the ancient Olympics captured the imaginations of the Greeks for more than a millennium until a Christianized Rome put a stop on the competitions in the fourth century AD. But the Olympic ideal did not die. Anyways which country do you think will win the maximum gold medals?


I say let the players play.


Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see