Juventus and Lazio players and officials lined up to meet the Pope on Tuesday morning ahead of their highly-anticipated Italian Cup final, which will take place at the Stadio Olimpico.
Juventus chief Giuseppe Marotta could be seen handing over a black and white striped shirt to the Pope. But there was no favouritism from the holy father as he also accepted a Lazio jersey. They were not the only gifts that Francis received as he also accepted a replica of the Coppa Italia from Italian FA president Carlo Tavecchio.
The Pope also addressed players from both sides, saying: ‘Taking into account the attraction professional football has on people — especially young people — you have a great responsibility.
‘You are considered ‘champions’ and, therefore, become figures of reference.
‘Every match is a battle of balance, understanding of oneself and respect of the rules.
‘He who, with the correct behaviour, can show all he’s worth can become a true example to his fans. This is what I wish for you all: to be examples of loyalty and honesty, harmony and humanity.’