He’s arguably the greatest footballer to ever play the game but fans shouldn’t call Lionel Messi “God”, according to the Pope.
The Pontiff says using the term to describe the Barcelona star is theoretically “sacrilege” and has warned supporters against doing it.
Asked about the subject on Spanish television channel La Sexta, Pope Francis said: “In theory, it is sacrilege. It shouldn’t be said. I do not believe it.”
When presenter Jordi Evole suggested he did believe Messi was God, Pope Francis replied with a chuckle: “I don’t.
“People could call him God, just as they might say ‘I adore you’, but only God can be worshipped.
“[Saying] ‘He’s a god with the ball on the pitch’ is a popular way to express yourself.
“He’s great to watch – but he’s not God.”