Manchester United’s new manager José Mourinho is lending his voice to the character of Pope Francis in an animated film about Our Lady of Fatima.
Mourinho will be the voice of the Argentine pontiff in Portuguese, English, Spanish and Italian, “the languages of the countries where he has already been a champion”, said the Portuguese production company Imaginew.
The film, called ‘Fe’, is being made to mark the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to three children in Fatima. It is scheduled to premiere on May 13, 2017, the centenary of the first apparition.
The choice of Mourinho has been approved by the Vatican, according to reports in Portugal. Rui Pedro Oliveira, who signed Mourinho for the voiceover for Imaginew, said he took up the offer “without reticence or demands.”
Mourinho is expected to donate his fee from the film to a charity for underprivileged children.
The 52-year-old Portuguese manager, who is regarded as one of the greatest managers of all time, has spoken of his Catholicism.
“I believe totally, clearly,” he told the Telegraph in an interview last year. “Every day I pray, every day I speak with Him. I don’t go to the church every day, not even every week. I go when I feel I need to. And when I’m in Portugal, I always go.”
He said he prays for his family life and for happiness. “But I can say the reality is I never go to the church to speak with Him about football. Never!”
He and his wife Tami support several causes including a Catholic food programme in Setúbal, Portugal.
Mourinho’s first job was teaching children with Down’s syndrome and with mental disabilities. From there he went on to coaching 16-year-olds before entering professional football.