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Men before champions

· Pope Francis to the national football teams of Italy and Argentina ·

Men before champions. Role models before famous figures in the limelight. This is truly a “social responsibility” which Pope Francis pointed out to the football players of Italy and Argentina, in an audience on Tuesday morning, 13 August -  the day before the friendly match scheduled for Wednesday evening at the Olympic Stadium in Rome. “You are very popular: people follow you very closely and not only on the pitch but also off”, he said to the two teams during their meeting in the Clementine Hall. Thus it is important to “be an example of loyalty, respect and altruism”, maintaining that “amateur” spirit in sports which benefits society and “builds the common good beginning with the values of consideration, camaraderie and beauty”. The Pontiff also asked the staff of the two national teams to work so that sports do not become “big business” but preserve an authentic and human dimension, in order to “definitively eliminate the danger of discrimination” and stadium violence.

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St. Peter’s Square

Aug. 23, 2019

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