POPE FRANCIS was showing off some pretty impressive soccer skills during his general audience at the Vatican this week.
The Pontiff was joined by several members of the Circus of Cuba during the weekly engagement at the Pope Paul VI hall.
Presented with a commemorative football by of one of the visiting circus artistes, he lived up to the old adage that while form is temporary, class is permanent.
It was the beautiful game at its best and most spiritual.
Spinning the ball on the tip of his finger, for one brief moment he was less Pontiff and more Pele.
Though his position on all matters of the faith are well established, his position on the pitch is somewhat less clear though.
However, on the basis of this footage, he definitely looks like a safe pair of hands between the posts.
HAVING A BALL: Pope Francis enjoys and briefly joins a Cuban circus troupe’s act at the Vatican. pic.twitter.com/MXqYPrJQDv
— ABC World News Now (@abcWNN) January 3, 2019
The Pope posed for selfies with the colourful entertainers, with one putting on a similarly impressive ball-juggling routine.
Speaking during the circus troupes visit, Pope Francis was keen to praise the performers for their impressive efforts.
“Beauty always raises the heart, beauty makes us all better, beauty brings goodness and also to God,” he declared.
The Pope’s love of soccer is well-documented.
An avid fan of San Lorenzo, who play back in his home country of Argentina, Pope Francis’s decision to abstain from watching television has made following his hometown club tricky.
His influence on the world of soccer extends further than most too – there’s actually a soccer club that was set up in honour of the Pontiff.
Club Deportivo Papa Francisco is a semi-professional football club based in San Francisco Solano in Buenos Aires Province and named in honour of the Pope.
Founded in September 2013, the club operates in the sixth tier of Argentine football. The club motto is "no hooligans, no violence, and no insults".