Martedì, 18 Settembre 2018
ROME

Soccer: Italy boss to 'try' to invite pope to Argentina game

English
© ANSA

Rome, August 8 - Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has
said he will try to invite Pope Francis to next week's friendly
against Argentina at Rome's Stadio Olimpico, but he fears he
will not be able to speak because of the emotion.
Next Wednesday's friendly between the Azzurri and the
pope's homeland was organised to honour Francis after he was
elected the first pontiff from the Americas at March's conclave.
The pope, an avid soccer fan, will have an audience with
the two teams on Tuesday. The Vatican has said there are no
plans as yet for him to attend the match.
"I'd like to tell him, 'tomorrow, if you've nothing better
to do, come to the stadium with us'. But I'm afraid I'll lose my
voice because of the emotion," Prandelli said in an interview
published in Thursday's La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Prandelli added in the interview that he has been impressed
by the pope's modest style and his focus on the poor and weak.
"His precise, immediate instructions, his keeping his
habits intact, his first words devoted to tenderness and
compassion won me over," the coach said.
Argentina forward Lionel Messi, the world's best player,
and Italy star Mario Balotelli, will be among the players
received by the pontiff.
Argentine forward Gonzalo Higuain, recently signed by
Napoli and selected for his country's squad for the match, will
be among the players too.
Pope Francis got a shirt with countryman Messi's name on
it from well-wishers at a general audience in April, about a
month after his election.
The soccer-loving pope was visibly delighted by the gift, a
No.10 Barcelona replica shirt with four-time world player of the
year Messi's name on.
The former Archbishop of Buenos Aires is a fan of one of
the Argentine capital's clubs, San Lorenzo.
The club said this week that Francis pays "religiously" to
keep up his membership.

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