Pope Francis 'religiously' supports Argentinean home soccer team

Aug. 6, 2013 at 12:44 PM

VATICAN CITY, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Pope Francis may call Rome his home now, but his heart is still with his home soccer team in Argentina, a team official says.

Marcelo Tinelli, vice president of the San Lorenzo football club in Buenos Aires, says the pontiff pays his club membership dues "religiously" by having them automatically deducted from his bank account, the Italian news agency ANSA reported Tuesday.

The pope gave the team a shout-out when it visited Vatican City in April. The team responded by giving him a soccer jersey bearing the name of Argentina superstar Lionel Messi.

Francis will meet Messi and Italy star Mario Balotelli when he receives them and their team members Aug. 13.

The Argentinean and Italian national teams will play the next day in Rome's Olympic stadium in a friendly match dedicated to the pope.

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