A passion for soccer even exists in the Vatican also because the Pope himself is a sports fan. In fact, some of the best soccer players of all time has travelled to the Eternal City to meet with him.
Few people may know that for ten years now, the Vatican has had its own soccer championship matches, called the Clericus Cup. 16 teams of with around 350 seminarians and priests from 55 countries compete to win the ecclesiastical soccer trophy.
This year, for the first time the matches involved many Augustinian religios. And present on the field there was a world-renowned Argentine.
"Messi is the best, a genius. I hope he will never leave his team, the Barcelona”.
"I really like the Barcelona and Messi, because he is a great player and because it is a team which I think has a lot of top qualities in soccer".
On February 20th it started the tournament but the Augostinian team has not had much luck. They hope that with the intercession of St. Augustine and Saint Monica they can help make it so that the "last shall be the first”.
In this Holy Year, the slogan of the championship is "Mercy jumps on to the field.” Although sometimes in the field, it’s difficult to be merciful.
"For us there has been no mercy. They say yes but there is only mercy on t-shirts ".
"It's difficult... I think there's always a little bit of mercy but soccer is soccer, and the spirit of competition must be present, even in a tournament involving priests and religious... So mercy is there but... there are boths.”
"There is always mercy. Because we must understand this: I play against another and if you hurt me, I should not respond in kind. I must learn to forgive. It is therefore a game which also consists of forgiveness and fair play. In this way you have to be good. And when you're not merciful you’ll have red and yellow cards to warn you".
The tournament ends on May 28th, and the challenge for the teams will be to end the domination of the Pontifical Urban College, the absolute winner over the last two seasons.