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Pope Francis smiles as he receives Messi’s shirt

Posted October. 20, 2021 07:31,   

Updated October. 20, 2021 07:31


Soccer-loving Pope Francis wore a huge smile after receiving Lionel Messi’s PSG shirts signed by the legendary player himself.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that French Prime Minister Jean Castex, visiting the Vatican to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the Roman Curia and France, met Pope Francis and gave a Paris-Saint Germain jersey signed by Lionel Messi. The French prime minister gave the pontiff the glass-framed number 30 jersey, along with the 1836 edition of the Notre-Dame de Paris by the French novelist Victor Hugo.

Born in Argentine, Pope Francis is known as an ardent soccer fan. The pope has been an open longtime supporter and member of the Buenos Aires soccer club San Lorenzo since he was a cardinal. “Messi is better than Maradona and Pele,” Pope Francis publicly praised the Argentine-born Messi in an interview in the past.

In 2013, Pope Francis met Messi in person who was visiting the Vatican at the time for the friendship match between Italy and Argentina. The pope also reiterated that Messi is not a God in an interview with a Spanish television program when asked whether it is sacrilegious to call Messi God. “In theory, it is sacrilege. I take joy from watching Lionel Messi play,” Pope Francis said. “I get that people say ‘he is God’ as they say ‘I adore you.’ However, Messi is not a God, and you have to adore only God.”

Dong-Wook Kim creating@donga.com