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Argentina give pope signed jersey

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ARGENTINA-POPEBUENOS AIRES, July 17- World Cup runners-up Argentina have sent their compatriot Pope Francis, a die-hard football fan, a jersey signed by the team, midfielder Maximiliano Rodriguez said Wednesday on Twitter.

The player posted a picture of himself holding up the sky blue and white jersey alongside national hero Lionel Messi, winner of the Golden Ball award for best player at the World Cup.

“This is the present the team sent to our Pope Francis!” Rodriguez wrote.

Francis is known as a lifelong football fan and card-carrying member of Argentine club San Lorenzo.

But the Vatican’s chief of ceremonies, Guillermo Karcher, said the pope had refrained from watching Sunday’s World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro — in which Argentina lost 1-0 to Germany in extra time — as “a matter of neutrality.”

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