Isn’t he an Argentina fan? Italy boss Roberto Mancini gives Pope Francis a personalised shirt as squad make special trip to the Vatican after sealing Euro 2020 qualification
- The Italian national team visited Pope Francis at the Vatican on Sunday
- Visit followed Roberto Mancini’s side qualifying for Euro 2020 with Greece win
- A comfortable 2-0 victory in Rome booked Italy’s spot with three games to spare
- The squad travel to Liechtenstein for tomorrow’s game but squeezed in the visit
Roberto Mancini’s team beat Greece 2-0 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Saturday, making it seven wins out of seven and guaranteeing the Azzurri top spot in qualifying Group J.
And a day later, the whole squad suited up to visit Pope Francis, presenting him with a personalised Italy national team shirt, with Francis’ actual surname ‘Bergoglio’ on the back.
Pope Francis shakes hand with Italy head coach Roberto Mancini at the Vatican on Sunday
Mancini presents a Italy football shirt to the Pope, whose full name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio
The Pope shakes the hand of national team and AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma
The entire playing squad and backroom staff pose for a group photograph with Pope Francis
Pope Francis also greeted the President of the Italian Football Federation Gabriele Gravina, and members of the backroom staff during the approximate 40 minute meeting.
Gravina told the Pope: ‘The national team is a constant symbol of values, a team which people can identify with and take inspiration from.’
The players reportedly had the opportunity to talk to the Pope about a visit to the Bambino Gesu Hospita, a medical facility for children, in the Italian capital.
They had donated a machine to Bambino Gesu which shows tumour cells in the blood of patients.
Leonardo Bonucci, who is captaining the side for this international period, meets the Pope
Pope Francis shakes the hand of Chelsea midfielder Jorginho, who scored on Saturday
Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne shakes the Pope’s hand as well as bowing his head
The Italy squad looked starstruck when meeting the Pope, Marco Verratti shakes his hand here
Stephan El Shaarawy, who now plays his club football for Shanghai Shenhua, also met the Pope
Italy’s latest qualifying victory was sealed via second-half strikes by Jorginho (from the penalty spot) and Federico Bernardeschi.
After the humiliation of missing out on last year’s World Cup, Italy will now definitely take their place in next summer’s European Championships, taking place across the continent.
Mancini was appointed manager of the national team following the 2018 World Cup qualifying failure, and has won 10 of his 16 matches in…