Vatican City, Oct 13 : Pope Francis on Sunday received the Italian national football team at the Vatican, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) said.
The meeting followed Italy’s qualification for the UEFA Euro 2020 with a 2-0 win over Greece at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico on Saturday.
FIGC President Gabriele Gravina led the delegation and presented the Pope with a national team jersey, which the squad wore during Saturday’s match, Efe news reported.
The players and head coach Roberto Mancini got the opportunity to talk with the Pope about their visit to the Bambino Gesu Hospital, a tertiary care academic children’s hospital located in Rome.
They informed the Pope that they had donated a machine to the hospital which shows tumour cells in patient’s blood.
“The national team is a constant symbol of values, a team which people can identify with and take inspiration from,” the FIGC President told the Pope.
The meeting lasted about 30 minutes following which the Italian team headed to the Acqua Acetosa sports complex to continue their preparation for Tuesday’s Euro qualifier against Liechtenstein.