News / Arts & Entertainment

Pope Has Divided Loyalties in Italy-Argentina Friendly Match

In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis greets Italy forward Mario Balotelli during a private audience at the Vatican, Aug. 13, 2013.
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis greets Italy forward Mario Balotelli during a private audience at the Vatican, Aug. 13, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Pope Francis told the Italian and Argentine soccer teams on Tuesday that he could not decide who to back in their friendly match on Wednesday, but he urged them to set a good example in their behavior on and off the field.
 
“It's a bit hard for me to decide who to support,” Francis, an Argentine whose parents hailed from northern Italy, said in an audience with players and officials at the Vatican ahead of the fixture, which has been organized in his honor.
 
“It's a good thing it's a friendly, and make sure that it really is,” the pontiff told the two sides who will play at Rome's Olympic Stadium in their first meeting in 12 years.
 
“You might not realize it but for so many people who look at you with admiration you are a model, for better or for worse, so be aware of this and give an example of fair play, respect and altruism” said the former Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, who is an avid football fan.
 
“Here in the Vatican they tell me off for being undisciplined,” joked Francis, who is known for breaking with stiff Vatican protocol.
 
His audience included Italian striker Mario Balotelli, whose volatile character has got him into trouble in the past, but who will miss Wednesday's match because of a knee injury.
 
There had been speculation that the pope would attend the match, which is the pick of a crop of international friendlies on Wednesday, but Italian coach Cesare Prandelli said Francis had been advised against it by his staff.
 
Argentine captain Lionel Messi, who will also miss Wednesday's game with a muscle strain, said it had been “a very special day, unforgettable.” He was due to fly back to his Barcelona club after the audience.
 
Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon said he hoped the two sides, who have won six World Cups between them, would meet again in the final of next year's tournament in Brazil.
 
“Two teams with the history of Argentina and Italy have the right to dream [of World Cup victory],” he said at a joint news conference with Messi. “A team with the good luck to have a player like Messi has every chance to win the World Cup.”

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings

With over five million records sold worldwide, singer-songwriter MIKA is best known for his hit single “Grace Kelly.” MIKA joins "Border Crossings" to perform live and to talk with host Larry London about his latest CD “The Origin Of Love.”