Latest News

Pope Francis meets Brazilian footballing legend Ronaldinho

Pope Francis embraces Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho during a meeting with the Scholas Occurrentes, an educational organisation founded by the Pope (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool photo via AP)

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.