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Pope Francis addresses soccer players over their social responsibility

2013-08-13

Pope Francis welcomed the national soccer teams from Italy and Argentina, who will play a friendly match in his honor. During his speech, the Pope told over 200 people at the Vaticans Clementine Hall that the athletes have a social responsibility.

POPE FRANCIS
"People follow you, not just inside the field, but outside as well. This is a social responsibility. Let me explain: in the game, when you're in the field, you find beauty, gratitude and camaraderie. If a game is missing this, it loses strength, even if there's a winner.”

Several of the players made sure that their face to face with the Pope would be a moment they wouldn't forget. But Pope Francis also made them a request to not forget about their humanity.

POPE FRANCIS
"Before being champions, you are men, human beings, with your virtues and defects, with a heart and ideas, aspirations and problems. So now, even though you are well known, always remember to be men, in sport and in life. Men, who display humanity.”

Both captains, Messi and Buffon gave the Pope an olive tree, after his remarks. Then each soccer team gave the Pope a jersey. The captains both spoke about their thoughts on the audience with the Pope.

GIAN LUIGI BUFFON
Captain, Italian National Team

"As a joke, to make you laugh a bit, I'm happy to have seen for the first time someone who is more famous than Messi, and that is a great gesture of normality. And since the Pope always preaches on normality, I liked being able to see something so normal.”

LIONEL MESSI
Captain, Argentine National Team

"The audience was short, but lovely, and the truth is that I didn't have much time to say anything.”

The two teams had not played each other in the past 13 years.