Balotelli hopes Pope will say 'happy birthday'

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Mario Balotelli, right, is pictured with England player Ashley Cole during a Euro 2012 match. Photo: Илья Хохлов/Wikicommons
14:28 CEST+02:00
Footballer Mario Balotelli said he hopes Pope Francis will wish him a happy birthday when he meets him on the eve of Italy's friendly against Argentina.

The AC Milan striker and the rest of the national squad will participate in Tuesday’s ‘private audience with Pope Francis’ ahead of the game on 14th August.

“I hope that he gives me birthday wishes,” Balotelli, who turns 23, told Sky Sports. 

When asked what he would say to the Pope, Balotelli replied, “I’ll tell him what I think.”

He also said the “best birthday gift” would be from his parents, Silvia and Francesco Balotelli, who adopted him at the age of three.

The meeting with the Pope will be a “purely private meeting”, a Vatican spokesperson said earlier this month. It will take place in the Clementine Hall in the Vatican Apostolic Palace.

On a visit to Brazil in July, the Pope remarked that the sport was a "national passion" in the country but quickly pointed out that "Jesus offers us something better than the World Cup".

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Despite being a football fan and from Argentina, Pope Francis will not attend the game on Wednesday.

A video emerged last week of Balotelli purportedly playing the Italian national anthem on a piano.

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