Proudly Supported By:


Soccer fans especially those obsessed with magical legs of Argentina international and Barcelona goal machine, Lionel Messi have been told to resist the temptation to either compare him with God or call him ‘God’ as that amounts to sacrilege.

Head of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of the Vatican City state, Pope Francis, who cautioned over the growing tendency to paint a larger than life image of the Barcelona ace, said while there is nothing wrong in appreciating expertise, adoring should only be for God.

The pontiff was speaking to host JordiEvole on the ‘Salvados’ programme broadcast on Spanish TV channel La Sexta when he was asked about people referring to Messi as ‘God’.Evole asked the Pope: ‘Is it sacrilege to say that Messi is God?’

And Pope Francis replied: ‘In theory it is sacrilege, you cannot say it, I don’t believe. Do you believe you can?

When Evole replied that he thought it was fine to say that, the pontiff, a native of Argentina like Messi, responded with a laugh and said: ‘I don’t.

‘People say ‘God’ like they say ‘I adore you’. Adoring is only for God, they are expressions people use. ‘He is a god with a ball on the pitch’, they are popular ways of expressing oneself.’

‘But look how he plays, eh?’ Evole responded.

The pope replied: ‘Of course, he brings happiness, but he isn’t God.’

The Pope has previously admitted to being a football fan and follows Argentine top-flight side San Lorenzo de Almagro.

Messi’s second-half brace gave Barcelona a 2-0 victory over city rivals Espanyol on Saturday.

Messi is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, with five Balon D’Or and five European Golden Shoe awards to his name.

He has spent his entire his professional career at Barcelona, where he has won nine Liga and six Copa del Rey titles and four UEFA Champions League cups. However, he is yet to play in a World Cup-winning side for his native Argentina.

Pope Francis, born, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is an Argentine and first Pope from outside Europe since the Gregory III who reigned in the 8th century.

Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on 28 February 2013, a papal conclave elected Bergoglio as his successor on 13 March. He chose Francis as his papal name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi.


Since you’re here …

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are readingNigerian Catholic Reporter than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. Nigerian Catholic Reporter’s independent, engagement journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because of our strong desire to use this platform to redirect the warped thinking of perceived citizens of God’s kingdom towards biblical injunctions and God’s desired culture for His people.
If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as N500, you can support Nigerian Catholic Reporter.

Thank you.

Support Nigerian Catholic Reporter:
All payments to be made to:
ECONOMIC NEWS ASSOCIATES LTD
(Publishers of Nigerian Catholic Reporter)
Bank: United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc
Account No: 1020298037