Messi chooses Argentina over Barcelona

[OLYMPIC COUNTDOWN] The Olympic finals in China with Argentina or Champions League qualifying with Barcelona?

Lionel Messi said he plans on playing for Argentina at the Olympic Games in August instead of Barcelona's Champions League third qualifying round series.

"It is up to me to decide and the Olympic Games are something I will never be able to play in again," the 20-year-old star said. "I am very excited at the prospect."

Barca slumped late in the season to finish third in La Liga, behind champion Real Madrid and Villarreal, and must qualify for next season's Champions League in August.

Qualifying will take place on Aug. 12-13 and 26-27. The Olympic men's soccer tournament, in which Argentina is the defending champion, will take place Aug. 6-23.

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