Pope Francis met footballing legend Ronaldinho this week.
The 35-year-old Brazilian star, dressed in a beanie hat with sunglasses hooked on to his shirt, was in Rome as a representative of Scholas Occurrentes – an Argentina-based group inspired by Pope Francis that aims to form links with schools and puts on sporting and artistic events.
Pope Francis said there were two questions one must ask a Brazilian: one, “Was it water or not?” The other was: “Who was better: Pele or Maradona?”
The Pope’s water joke could be a reference to the “holy water scandal” of the 1990 World Cup. During the Brazil-Argentina semi-final it was claimed that a Brazilian player, Branco, was handed a water bottle laced with tranquillisers by the Argentinian team.
Branco had been marking Maradona and subsequently complained of feeling drowsy.