Messi good for Brazil's World Cup: organizers

Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:55pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Rex Gowar

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Lionel Messi is the figurehead of Brazil's arch-rivals Argentina, one of the teams with the potential to spoil the home team's dream of winning the World Cup next year.

Yet Brazilians love Messi and his presence will be good for the tournament, the chief executive officer of Brazil's Local Organising Committee (LOC) told Reuters.

"For us he is so important, he is unanimously admired in Brazil not only because of his football but also his behavior," Ricardo Trade said in an interview on a visit to Buenos Aires.

"It is so important to have Messi there, (so) that a lot of people could see him. People love to touch him - like Neymar for Brazil he is very likeable to Brazilians."

Trade said he was confident the tournament would go off well after the experience that the country gained from hosting the Confederations Cup in June, when demonstrations by Brazilians caught the authorities off-guard.

"We're not God that we can say we won't have problems at the World Cup," he said. "We're having them now, last week in Rio and Sao Paulo there were very violent protests. We live in a democracy but vandalism and violence cannot be permitted, (protests) must be within the law.

"We're going to respect the rights of fans, referees, press. It wasn't easy (to handle) in the Confederations Cup because it was a surprise for everyone. No one expected the social conflicts not even Brazilians."


Barcelona's Lionel Messi looks at the ball during a training session at the San Siro stadium in Milan October 21, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo