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Football greats to kick off papal 'peace match' in Rome

Published on Aug 26, 2014 12:45 AM
Players taking part in the Pope's  "peace match" on Monday include (clockwise from top left) Ronaldinho, Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto and Gianluigi Buffon. -- PHOTOS: AFP, REUTERS

VATICAN CITY (AFP) - International football sensations from Ronaldinho to Messi and Baggio will take to the pitch in Rome next week for a charitable "peace match" organised by Pope Francis, organisers said on Monday.

Kick-off will be at 8.45pm next Monday (2.45am on Tuesday in Singapore) at Rome's Olympic stadium, but the 77-year-old Pope will not be cheering from the stands, despite being an avid football supporter himself.

Nor will he catch it on the big screen, according to a Vatican official, though he is expected to meet with all the players before the match.

Players on the match list include Argentina's Lionel Messi, Italy's Gianluigi Buffon, Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o and Israel's Yossi Benayoun.

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