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Pope's soccer habit a perfect fit for papal gifts
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Vatican City • Soccer-mad Pope Francis is building quite a collection of team jerseys.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy gave Francis a national jersey signed by all the players during a 25-minute audience Monday in the Apostolic Palace.

The pope quipped: "Just like the San Lorenzo one!" Last week, members of Francis' beloved Buenos Aires team offered him a club jersey during the pope's general audience and got a papal shout-out in Spanish. Francis is a lifelong San Lorenzo fan and became a club member (ID No. 88235) in 2008.

A few weeks ago, a fan gave Francis another San Lorenzo jersey as the pope drove through St. Peter's Square.

Italy has invited Argentina to play a friendly this summer; Italy coach Cesare Prandelli hopes it will be preceded by a papal audience.

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