In a recent interview with Jordi Evole in the Spanish TV programme, La Sexta, Pope Francis insisted that he wasn’t too enthusiastic with the idea of comparing his compatriot, Lionel Messi, with God.
Coming through the ranks of Spanish giants, FC Barcelona, Lionel broke into the first-team in the 2005/2006 season. Since then, there has been nothing but sheer dominance from the 31-year-old Argentine forward in the world of football, with only Portuguese superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, being able to compete with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
The FC Barcelona talisman has scored 593 goals and set up another 238 in the 675 appearances he has made so far. Of what has been an unmatchable and fruitful career, the four-time Champions League winner has bagged numerous collective as well as individual titles thus far.
Despite having dominated the beautiful game for the past decade, the diminutive Argentine has shown no signs of ageing as he currently leads the race for the European Golden Shoe. Messi’s splendid form this season has ensured the Catalan giants’ reaching the Copa Del Rey final and the quarter-finals of the Champions League, where they will be up against Manchester United. Barcelona are firmly in the hunt for a treble this season, with the club currently being 10 points clear at the top of the La Liga table.
Speaking about his compatriot Messi, who is often referred to as “God”, Pope Francis said:
Jordi Evole: You know when both. Is it sacrilege to say that Messi is God?
Pope Francis: In theory, it is sacrilege. You can’t say it and I don’t believe it. Do you believe it?
Jordi Evole: I do.
Pope Francis: I don’t [laughs]. People can say he is God, just as they may say ‘I adore you’ but only God can be worshipped. Those are expressions from people. ‘This is a God with the ball on the field’ is a popular way for someone to express themselves.
Jordi Evole: But he plays well doesn’t he?
Pope Francis: Of course, he is very good, but he isn’t God.
After registering a comfortable 2-0 win in the Catalan derby against Espanyol at the weekend, Messi and co. will take on Villareal in an away La Liga encounter on Tuesday night.