Italy squad meet the Pontiff ahead of Argentina friendly in Rome.
Italy striker Mario Balotelli has met with the Pope ahead of the international friendly between the Azzurri and Argentina on Wednesday.
Pope Francis met with both squads on Tuesday, and revealed he is happy the game is only a friendly as he would find it difficult to decide who to support.
While he is from Argentina, he remains attached to his Italian roots and the match was organised in Rome in his honour.
“I thank you all for being here. Luckily it’s a friendly, otherwise I wouldn’t know who to support!” he smiled as reported by Football Italia.
“You are popular and the people follow you, but that is a responsibility on your shoulders. Never forget the beauty of camaraderie, from when you were amateurs. Before you are champions, you must be men and bring humanity to everyone you meet.
“To the directors I say that football is sport and not a business. That is the way to discourage violence,” he added.
The two countries will meet at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday night, but the majority of the press attention surrounded Balotelli on Tuesday as he met with Pope Francis before the pair exchanged a few words with one another.
— AC Milan News (@Milanello) August 13, 2013