Brazil's Rousseff to invite Pope to World Cup

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff said on Tuesday that she plans to invite Pope Francis, an avid football fan, to attend the World Cup tournament that gets underway in June. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff said on Tuesday that she plans to invite Pope Francis, an avid football fan, to attend the World Cup tournament that gets underway in June. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

BRASiLIA (AFP) - Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff said on Tuesday that she plans to invite Pope Francis, an avid football fan, to attend the World Cup tournament that gets underway in June.

"I'm going to invite him to the World Cup," said Ms Rousseff on the eve of her visit to Rome, where she is due to meet with the pontiff.

The football-besotted pope, 77, who is a native of neighboring Argentina, is still a member of the San Lorenzo club he used to watch as a child with his father.

Prior to becoming pope last year, Francis was Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

The first pontiff from the Americas is to meet with Rousseff at the Vatican on Friday, for what is expected to be a friendly encounter, despite the bitter football rivalry between their two nations.

The World Cup kicks off on June 12 in Sao Paulo.