The head of the Catholic Church, the bishop of Rome, and sovereign of the Vatican City State, Pope Francis has named late football icon Pele as his favourite footballer.
In a commemorative event for World War II soldiers, Francis was asked to choose between Messi and the late Maradona by TV station TG1.
The 86-year-old replied that Pele is his favourite, citing the late Brazilian’s humility as the reason behind his choice.
Speaking on the matter, Francis said (via GOAL): “I would add a third, Pele. They are the three I have followed.
“All three are great, each with his speciality. At the moment Messi is very good.”
He added, “Maradona as a man failed, poor thing, he slipped, the people around him didn’t help him. He came to see me the first year [I was pontiff]. [His life] ended badly. It’s funny, many sportsmen end badly, even in boxing. It’s curious.”
“Messi is very correct, he is a gentleman. Among these three, the greatest gentleman is Pele. He is a man with a very big heart. I spoke to him, I met him on a plane in Buenos Aires, and he is a man of great humanity.”