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Lionel Messi Among Backers of Gerard Pique's Kosmos 25-Year Davis Cup Deal

Christopher Simpson

Gerard Pique has revealed that Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi is among the backers of the 25-year deal between his company Kosmos and the Davis Cup.

The Spaniard, who attended the Finals draw of the tennis tournament in Madrid on Thursday, told Mike Dickson of the Daily Mail:

"Leo knows more than anyone about this because he is involved in Kosmos.

"He is a partner, he is part of the Kosmos family, he likes tennis. We have a relationship of 18 years since he arrived at the club, and I always try to share with him things I'm thinking, he loves to be part of it and he wanted to be part of it."

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Some of Pique's team-mates share Messi's enthusiasm for the project, while others wonder where the Spaniard finds the time. Pique added: "They said to me they don't understand how I'm doing all of this. Some of them don't follow it but some of them know about it, and they are pretty excited and want to come to Madrid."

Pique's company, which also counts Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani and American tech billionaire Larry Ellison among its backers, has pledged to invest $3 billion over the next 25 years into the international team competition.

The Davis Cup, which has run since 1900 and is traditionally split over four weekends across the year, will be contested in Madrid over a week in November this year in a change of format.

At the group draw on Thursday, Pique was eager to show his admiration of the sport, per Record's Jose Morgado:

The 32-year-old's involvement has not gone down well in some quarters, with the likes of Lleyton Hewitt and Roger Federer expressing scepticism.

Some have dubbed the tournament the "Pique Cup," a term the player does not care for: "I hate it, because it's not about me and I don't want my name on the competition. Davis Cup history is so big. I hope we can change this opinion. After a few years, I hope they go back and say "We were wrong, Davis Cup is more alive than ever."

Pique also pointed to the involvement of people such as 2002 French Open winner Albert Costa:

"I can understand that when a footballer comes in the tennis world it can seem a little bit awkward or strange, but at the end of the day I'm not going to be changing the rules of tennis. I understand that I'm the new one here and I try to understand everyone. In the time we are living now it is easy to say whatever you think. If it's with respect it's fine."

It's unclear if Messi will have a significant role in the project. He was the second-highest earning athlete in the world last year, according to Forbes, but he's far from the wealthiest investor at Kosmos.

According to Goal's Oli Platt, Messi's business investments and charitable work "tends to be focused through sources and ventures he trusts."

In backing Pique's initiative, the Argentinian's involvement is in keeping with that approach.  

   
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