Vatican City, Feb 19, 2021 / 12:00 pm
Pope Francis said on Friday that participation in sports can help people to grow in holiness, stressing the importance of teamwork.
In a Feb. 19 meeting with an Italian soccer team, the pope said that “sports, and also soccer, are a path of life, of maturity, and of holiness.”
The pope received the U.C. Sampdoria team from Genoa for an audience at the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace. The team presented the pope with a framed custom jersey embossed with the name “Papa Francesco.”
“The most beautiful victories are those you win as a team,” Pope Francis told the soccer players.
“At home, if a footballer plays only for himself, we say ‘he eats the ball,’ he takes the ball for himself and does not look at the others. No. Always as a team.”
Pope Francis is a well-known soccer fan. His favorite team is San Lorenzo de Almagro in his native Argentina.
Earlier this year, the pope received a visit from the northern Italian soccer club Spezia after they beat A.S. Roma, eliminating them from the Coppa Italia, the country’s annual cup competition.