VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has met with international soccer stars gathered for a match in Rome aimed at promoting peace and raising money for at-risk children.
Athletes at the papal audience included Argentina's Diego Maradona (mah-rah-DOHN'-yah), who later presented Pope Francis with an Argentine football jersey.
Francis told the soccer stars that young people admire them for their athletic ability, and he urged them to provide a good example both on and off the field.
The Match for Peace in Rome's Olympic stadium was organized in response to an appeal by Pope Francis and former Inter Milan captain Javier Zanetti.
The organizers put together teams featuring Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist players. But former Egyptian soccer player Mohamed Aboutrika refused to take part in the event, citing the presence of Israeli players.