A delegation from Villarreal CF, including most of the first-team players and coaches, met Pope Francis today at the Vatican. He was given a Villarreal shirt (unfortunately, the only photo I’ve seen doesn’t show the name on the back...I was wondering about that) and other gifts.
Pope Francis gave a short speech; the text of it has been released by the Vatican and is available (in Spanish) here.
A brief synopsis: “Football is an image of life and society, and acting in the spirit of fellowship, as part of a team, if you play for the good of the group, it is easier to win. Football is also about transmitting values and educating young people. One of the characteristics of the good athlete is gratitude.”
Pope Francis asked for the blessing of the patrons of the city upon everyone. At the end he made a more informal comment—he said it helps me to think about football, and especially about the role of the goalkeeper. Why? Because he has to be ready to stop the ball, wherever it comes from. Life is like that. You have to take things from where they come and when they come. “When I find myself facing situations I did not expect, i think of the goalkeeper”, said the Pope.
A very special day, indeed. Endavant!