Cesare Prandelli “was struck by” the Pope’s comments to the Italy and Argentina squads ahead of tomorrow’s friendly.
“We were fortunate enough to experience this special, emotional day,” said Italy Coach Prandelli.
“Listening to His Holiness, I was struck by his speech, as it seemed to be from a Coach, from someone who wants to educate lads.
“He said in a football match we must always have three values: ability, beauty and camaraderie. Those words meant a lot to us Coaches, as we always say individualism doesn’t exist on the pitch.
“Of course those same principles should also be carried on throughout every area of life. It was a strong emotion to hear that.”
There had been initial rumours Pope Francis would attend the match at the Stadio Olimpico, but Prandelli revealed that was highly unlikely.
“I didn’t get the chance to invite him to the game, as he anticipated my question and said he already has many requests for his time. He also said that he gets told off for being ‘undisciplined’ in the Vatican!
“I am still carrying the emotion of the day with me.”