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The Pope receives Juventus and Milan players: give a positive message for all society through football, 20.05.2016

Vatican City, 20 May 2016 – This morning the Holy Father received the players of the Italian Juventus and Milan teams, along with managers of the Serie A National League of Professional Footballers. "Your presence offers me the opportunity to express my appreciation for the professional capacities and beautiful traditions that distinguish your sporting associations and the football environment in general. I think of many fans, especially among the young, who support you enthusiastically. You attract the attention of these people, who admire you, and you are therefore called upon to behave in a manner that always highlights the human qualities of athletes committed to bearing witness to authentic sportsmanship."

"Indeed, the success of a team is the result of a variety of human virtues: harmony, loyalty, the capacity for friendship and dialogue, and solidarity; these are spiritual values, which become sporting values. By exercising these moral qualities, you can increasingly bring to the forefront the true purpose of the world of sport, often marred by negative elements."

"It is simply about demonstrating that each one of you, before being a footballer, is a person with his limits and gifts, but above all with his own conscience, that I hope is always enlightened also by the relationship with God. Therefore, let there never be lacking among you fraternity, mutual respect, understanding and forgiveness", the Pope added. "Ensure that the man is always in harmony with the athlete. Be champions in your sport, but above all be champions in life! Always exalt what is good and beautiful, through clear witness of the values that must characterise sport, and do not be afraid to make known to the world of your fans, with serenity and balance, the moral and religious principles you hope will inspire your life. In this way, the efforts being made by the Serie A League will be of help to you, so that the game of football may constitute a positive message for society as a whole."