Pope Francis met with UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin and other football officials on Thursday to offer his blessings before the European Championship kicks off in Rome.

Euro 2020, which was postponed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, starts Friday with Italy playing Turkey at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Argentine-born Francis is an avid football fan and a noted supporter of Buenos Aires team San Lorenzo.

Italian soccer federation president Gabriele Gravina also took part in the meeting inside the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican.

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