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Soccer: Italy to play Argentina in pope's honour August 14

Football-loving Francis will receive teams

Soccer: Italy to play Argentina in pope's honour August 14

Rome, July 4 - Italy will play Argentina in a Rome friendly on August 14 in honour of soccer-loving Argentinian Pope Francis, the Italian Soccer Federation (FIGC) said Thursday. Francis will receive the teams, including Argentina superstar Lionel Messi and Italy star Mario Balotelli, before the game, the FIGC said. Francis got a shirt with countryman Messi's name on it from well-wishers at a general audience in April, about a month after his election. The soccer-loving pope was visibly delighted by the gift, a No.10 Barcelona replica shirt with four-time world player of the year Messi's name on it. As Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Francis was a fan of one of the Argentine capital's clubs, San Lorenzo.

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