(ANSA) - Vatican City, December 16 - "What joy," Pope
Francis exclaimed Monday after hearing the news that his
favourite soccer team, San Lorenzo, clinched the Argentine
The team's 0-0 draw at Velez Sarsfield enabled the Buenos
Aires team to seal the Inicial championship and has been
described as an early birthday present for the pope, the former
archbishop of Buenos Aires, who turns 77 on Tuesday.
Francis heard the news early Monday morning.
Meanwhile, San Lorenzo club officials say they want to
travel to meet the pope and dedicate the victory to Francis.
"We are organizing an audience with Francis," said the
club's vice-president Marcelo Tinelli.
Sunday's win was San Lorenzo's 12th league title in the
professional era and first since the 2007.
Unlike European leagues, the Argentine season is split
between two championships - the Inicial (former Apertura) played
in the second half of the year, starting in August, and the
Final (ex-Clausura) in the first half of the following year.
Francis, an avid soccer fan, has not only remained loyal to
his club, but is faithful in his membership dues payments,
paying "religiously", Tinelli said earlier this year.
Some fans have said it is no coincidence that the team's
form has been strong since Francis was elected to the helm of
the Catholic Church in March.