Italy vs. Argentina soccer match planned to honor Pope



Last week, Italian coach Cesare Prandelli said, “The game against Lionel Messi’s team is the only one against the great world cup teams that we are missing.”

“We could close the circle with that one. It would be a tribute to the new Pope,” he explained.

Guillermo Tofoni, who is president of the company charged with scheduling Argentina’s unofficial games, posted on his Twitter account, “We’d be pleased to accommodate Coach Cesare Prandelli of the Italian team…We are already working on the date.”

Prandelli said it would be “wonderful” if the teams could meet together for an audience with “the Pope who loves soccer” and then travel together by bus to the stadium for the game.

Shortly after Pope Francis was elected to the papacy, his favorite soccer club, San Lorenzo, announced plans to send him a personalized jersey with his name on it.

The Holy Father helped mark the 100th anniversary of the club, which is from his home diocese of Buenos Aires, by celebrating Mass with its members as a cardinal in 2008.

In addition, professional soccer players Leo Messi and Javier Mascherano, along with the president of the team FC Barcelona, Sandro Rosell, recently sent a letter inviting the Pontiff to attend a soccer match at the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona at a time that is convenient for him.

Published by the Spanish daily Mundo Deportivo, the letter said such an opportunity would give the Holy Father a chance to “enjoy the quality of our players, mainly of your two fellow countrymen, Leo Messi and Javier Mascherano.”