Gigi Buffon praised the Pope for “helping us to be better,” while Mario Balotelli was visibly moved by their private meeting.
The Italy and Argentina squads visited the Vatican today ahead of tomorrow night’s friendly match at the Stadio Olimpico.
“A Pope like this is helping us to be better,” said Azzurri captain Buffon.
“He indicates the path, warms our hearts and shakes up our souls. Finally we will be able to follow through the promises that so many times are made and not kept.”
Balotelli reportedly got up after the ceremony had concluded and went after the Pope into another room, where they spent several minutes talking privately.
The Milan striker emerged visibly moved, but would not reveal to journalists what had been discussed.
Meanwhile, it is widely reported Balotelli and Lionel Messi will not play against Argentina due to minor injuries.
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!