JUVENTUS and Lazio players took part in the annual Coppa Italia preparation by meeting the Pope.
The two Serie A sides will meet tomorrow night for the 69th edition of Italy’s domestic cup competition.
And they were granted an audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican, who told them to be “examples of loyalty and honesty.”
Keep up to date with ALL the Serie A news, gossip and transfers
The Head of Catholic church also emphasised “the importance of sport in these times.”
He told Juventus and Lazio players: “Taking into account the attraction professional football has on people — especially young people — you have a great responsibility.
“You are considered ‘champions’ and, therefore, become figures of reference.
“Every match is a battle of balance, understanding of oneself and respect of the rules.
“He who, with the correct behaviour, can show all he’s worth can become a true example to his fans.
“This is what I wish for you all: to be examples of loyalty and honesty, harmony and humanity.”
Pope Francis also insists he wants to see a decrease of stadium violence, and has asked the players to play their part in keeping the peace.
He added: “Sometimes, sadly, there are episodes of violence which affect the serenity of matches and the healthy enjoyment for the fans.
“I hope that, as much as you can, you play your part helping maintain the sporting activity to just that.”
Finally, he wished the two teams luck ahead of the clash.
He said: “I thank you for your visit with all my heart.
“And I hope you play out an great match.”