Football: Lionel Messi not 'God', reveals Pope Francis

Lionel Messi and Pope Francis.
Lionel Messi and Pope Francis. Photo credit: Reuters

For Barcelona fans, Lionel Messi is 'D10S', a combination of the Spanish word for 'God' - 'dios' - with the number 10 on his shirt.

But Pope Francis begs to differ.

Interviewed by Spanish TV channel La Sexta on Sunday (local time), the pope praised Argentine compatriot Messi, but said he must not be called God.

"In theory, it is sacrilege," explained the leader of the Catholic Church. "You can't do it.

"People could call him God, just as they might say 'I adore you', but only God can be worshipped.

"[Saying] 'He's a god with the ball on the pitch' is a popular way to express yourself. He's great to watch - but he's not God."

Pope Francis is known to be a football fan and he's also a member of Buenos Aires club San Lorenzo.

Two goals from Messi gave Barcelona victory in the Catalan derby over Espanyol on Sunday, taking the Liga leaders another step closer to the title.


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