VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis, known for his love of football, said on Friday that he had been asked to remain neutral in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
“The Brazilians asked for my neutrality’’, the Argentine-born pontiff said in an interview with Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia.
“And I will keep my word, because Brazil and Argentina have always been rivals.’’
On Thursday, the first day of the Brazil-hosted tournament, the leader of the Catholic Church sent goodwill messages via Twitter and a video message broadcast by Brazilian network Rede Globo.
“While it is true that at the end of this World Cup only one national team will be able to lift the winners’ cup, we will all be winners if we learn the lessons that sport teaches us, strengthening the bonds that unite us’’, he said. (dpa/NAN)