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Messi vs. Balotelli for the pope in a friendly

July 4, 2013

ROME (AP) — Lionel Messi’s Argentina will face Mario Balotelli’s Italy in a friendly dedicated to Pope Francis.

After months of talks, the Italian Football Federation announced Thursday that the match will be held Aug. 14 at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.

The federation also says that both squads will have audiences with the pope at the Vatican.

Pope Francis is an acknowledged football fan and is from Argentina.

Italy’s last match with Argentina was also a friendly in Rome, in 2001, which Argentina won 2-1.

Before that, Diego Maradona’s Argentina knocked host Italy out of the 1990 World Cup on penalties in a memorable semifinal match in Naples.

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