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.
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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller has made a name for herself appearing with such high-profile artists as Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Tia and her quartet performed music from her CD “Angelic Warrior” on our latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."