An estimated 3 million Catholics gathered on Copacabana beach in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on Saturday for World Youth Day, where recently-elected Pope Francis made an appearance. In his talk with the churches followers, he did his best to connect with the country’s soccer-crazy citizens, though he may have actually put a slight wedge between himself and his people.
According to the Associated Press, Francis compared being a good Catholic to training to play soccer, but then added that Jesus offers them “something more than the World Cup.”
Not only did the Pope jump about the full length of a soccer pitch over the line with that statement, be he said it in the homeland of Pele, one of the sports most storied athletes, and where the 2014 FIFA World Cup will be played. Let’s also not forget that Francis—the man formerly known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio—hails from Argentina, one of Brazil’s fiercest rivals in futbol.
Maybe this was just a little jealousy showing through as the Canarinho have more than double the amount of World Cup titles as Francis’s La Albiceleste.
Either way, his holiness remains a huge fan of the world’s most popular sport—he’s reportedly a lifelong fan of the Buenos Aires club San Lorenzo and has been a member since 2008, has been adding soccer jerseys to his already large collection while on his multi-nation trip, and will be treated to an international friendly between Argentina and Italy when he returns to home in August. That match was organized in honor of his election.