Barcelona legend Lionel Messi is most often than not compared with God and at times is even being called God, as his heroics on the pitch are seldom not otherworldy. However, Pope Francis hasn’t taken well this moniker bestowed upon the Argentina forward, and said in an interview that doing so is as good as sinning.
Messi’s dominant performance earlier this Saturday in Barca’s 2-0 win over Espanyol, which saw him score twice within a space of 17 minutes, just a fortnight after scoring a brilliant hat-trick against Real Betis, is just a few of the many accolades the Argentine has to his name, which have led his fans alike to calling him God!
When Spanish media outlet La Sexta journalist Jordi Evole sat down with Pope Francis, the latter disregarded the moniker of God bestowed upon Messi by the fans, whilst being equally appreciative of his quality and calibre.
The Pope said: “In theory, it is sacrilege. You can’t say it and I don’t believe it. Do you believe it?” when Evole asked the authority on the Catholic Church whether it was sacrilege or not to call his compatriot God.
“People can say he is God, just as they may say ‘I adore you’ but only God can be worshipped. Those are expressions from people. ‘This is a God with the ball on the field’ is a popular way for someone to express themselves,” the Pope added.
The head of the Vatican City State went to say: “Of course, he is very good, but he isn’t God,” when asked for his opinion on the Argentina international.
Messi’s brace on the weekend marked his 41st goal in all competitions this term, as well as the 10th consecutive season where he’s scored a sum of 40+ goals.