Pope promotes soccer for peace, harmony and charity
VATICAN CITY — The World Cup trophy has gone to Germany, but the soccer-loving Pope Francis and soccer-crazy Italians are gearing up for an all-star match to highlight sports’ potential to unite people and to raise money to help poor children in Buenos Aires, the pope’s hometown.
The interreligious Match for Peace, organized by Javier Zanetti, an Argentine soccer star and former captain of Italy’s Inter team, is set for Sept. 1 at Rome’s Olympic Stadium.
Javier Zanetti with Pope Francis in April 2013. (CNS/L’Osservatore Romano)
The participating players, according to Zanetti, include: Lionel Messi, another Argentine star who plays for Barcelona; Gianluigi Buffon, the Italian national team’s goalkeeper and captain of Juventus; Zinedine Zidane, a Frenchman now coaching for Real Madrid; Roberto Baggio, an Italian soccer hall of fame member; Andrea Pirlo, another Juventus player; Yuto Nagatomo, a Japanese player who is on Italy’s Inter team; and Samuel Eto’o…
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