Karol Jozef Wojtyla was once tipped to make it as a professional goalkeeper before he decided to become a Catholic priest, and John Paul II has not been the only football-loving pope.

Current incumbent Francis is also big fan of the beautiful game. So, when his native Argentina recently visited Italy, which envelopes Vatican City, for a friendly, the San Lorenzo fan met with both sets of players – much to their mutual delight, as the above snap of the pontiff and Italy No1 Gianluigi Buffon shows.

“It's a bit hard for me to decide who to support,” he said, smiling. “It’s a good thing it’s only a friendly!”

Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain proved the start of the show inside Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, scoring one and setting up the other as Argentina won 2-1.