I would like Spain to win Euro 2012, says Messi

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Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernendez
Bagota, Jun 23: Barcelona star Lionel Messi would prefer Spain to retain the European Championship because of his close ties with few players in the La Roja side.

Nearly seven players in Spain play their club football with Messi in Barcelona. However, Barcelona's top-scorer is particularly good friends with midfielders Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas. The Barcelona star, who turns 25 on Sunday, backed Spain to retain the Euro crown.

The defending champions finished first in Group C at Euro 2012 and remained unbeaten with a draw against Italy, an impressive 4-0 win against Ireland with a narrow but crucial win over Croatia. Spain head into the quarter-final clash with France on Sunday while the winner will go through to play Portugal in the semi-finals.

"I admit that I have not been following the European Championship, I do not have a clear favourite. But I would like Spain to win because of the team-mates I have there," Messi told reporters in Bagota, capital of Colombia, where he took part in a charity match on Friday.

The charity match played between 'Friends of Messi' and the 'Rest of the World' ended 6-6, with the appearance from Brazilian stars Dani Alves, Robinho and Uruguayan Deigo Forlan.

Meanwhile, Messi refused to comment on recent criticism thrown at him by rival Real Madrid and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo about the Argentinian's performance with the national team.

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