“Francis convinced the former football player and current manager of Italy’s national team Roberto Mancini, 57, not to make the Sign of the Cross on the football field, Mancini told Italian television TG5 (December 20, Italian video sequence below).
Mancini told TG5 that he is a lifelong Catholic and that he was lucky to grow up next to a parish, ‘My life was school, house, and parish.’ He also visited Medjugorje a couple of times.
To the question whether it happens that he prays on the pitch, Mancini quickly replied, ‘No, on the pitch not.’
‘Many make the sign of the cross,’ a slightly surprised reporter interjects, and Mancini explains,
“I used to do that too, you know, hoping nothing happened during the game, then we went to the pope. Pope Francis said, ‘Why are you making the sign of the cross, don’t you have other thoughts in this moment?’ So since that time I don’t do it anymore. I don’t want the pope to get angry.'”