By Nick Butler at The Hilton in Buenos Aires

Lionel Messi has refused the opportunity to support Madrid 2020August 31 - Argentinian football superstar Lionel Messi "felt he ought not to support Madrid 2020", President of the Spanish Olympic Committee Alejandro Blanco has admitted here, as tension between the three cities bidding to host the Games continues to build a week ahead of the decision being made.

Blanco, who is also the President of Madrid 2020, confirmed that Messi had been approached to participate in a promotional video, only for the Argentinean to turn down any involvement via his agents.

Gaining the support of local boy Messi - the winner of six Spanish La Liga titles with Barcelona as well as the last three Ballon D'Or awards for the World Player of the Year - would have been a major boost for Madrid, even though he plays for their Catalan rivals. 

Blanco however refused to be too downhearted when insisting that "there is absolutely no problem if a sporting figure does not want to take part", and that "we have to respect the decision of the best player in the world."

The Madrid 2020 bid President Alejandro Blanco poses after arriving in Buenos Aries ahead of the IOC SessionMadrid 2020 bid President Alejandro Blanco poses after arriving in Buenos Aries ahead of the IOC Session

Blanco and the rest of the Madrid 2020 team have joined delegations from Istanbul and Tokyo in arriving here in Buenos Aires for a final effort to impress the International Olympic Committee (IOC) members ahead of the vote on September 7.

Despite their failure to capture an endorsement from Messi, Madrid have garnered support from the two legendary Argentinean football teams River Plate and Boca Juniors as well as the basketball player Pau Gasol, who will represent Spanish athletes.

With Gasol, a double Olympic medalist who is also a star for the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association (NBA), Blanco was particularly delighted by this announcement.

This was also both because Gasol is "a particular friend of ours", and because he was Spain's flag bearer in the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics last summer, he said.

Pau Gasol has been named as a spokesperson for Madrid 2020Double Olympic medalist and NBA star Pau Gasol has been named as a spokesperson for Madrid 2020

Meanwhile, after arriving here last night the chairman of Tokyo's 2020 Olympic Bid Committee, Tsunekazu Takeda, has also admitted to feeling the tension ahead of the crucial vote.

"We've finally come to the place of decision, and with it has come a sense of high tension," he said.

"I will do everything in my power to meet the expectations of Japan's citizens."  

Although the focus is now on Buenos Aires events aiming to raise the profile of the bids are still continuing elsewhere and in Tokyo this included a series of running, swimming and walking events taking in many of the venues from Tokyo's 1964 Games.

A swimming event in Japan to further raise the profile of Tokyo 2020Swimmers in Tokyo Bay near the proposed 2020 venues for triathlon and beach volleyball as part of an "Aquathlon Organized by the Japan Triathlon Union," which aimed to further raise the profile of Tokyo 2020

Tokyo remains the bookies favourite with a week to go, although, after recent problems, including the repercussions of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Takeda is not taking anything for granted.

"I don't think we have any advantage and I think we're all at the same line," he said.

"Until the very end, I will exert every effort to help as many IOC members as possible understand our plan."

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