A photo released by the Osservatore Romano and taken on Februay 21, 2014 shows Pope Francis receiving gifts from Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff during their audience at the Vatican. (AFP Photo/Osservatore Romano)
Pope Francis has confronted temptation of an unusual sort. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff gave him a national team jersey signed by football great Pele and a ball signed by Ronaldo during an audience on Friday. Francis joked that with such gifts, he might be encouraged to support Brazil over his native Argentina at the upcoming World Cup.
Rousseff asked at the very least for neutrality, the Vatican said. Francis, a lifelong fan of the Buenos Aires club San Lorenzo, has amassed an enormous collection of jerseys since his election. Pele signed the newest addition, No 10: "To Pope Francis with respect and admiration," while Ronaldo signed the ball "to Pope Francis, a big hug from your friend Ronaldo."
Rousseff was in town to see Rio's archbishop formally made a cardinal.