?Pope Francis has said that, whilst Lionel Messi is undoubtedly a great player, he is not God. However, the head of the Catholic church also said he doesn’t believe the player’s D10S moniker to be sacrilegious.
Throughout Messi’s Barcelona career, many fans have referred to him as a God as a result of his footballing ability, creating the nickname D10S, as combination of his shirt number and the Spanish word for God.
The forward is widely recognised as one of the greatest of all time, even earning praise from his countryman Pope Francis, who discussed comparisons between the Barcelona forward and Lord Almighty.
Speaking on ?La Sexta’s Salvados show, the Pope accepted that the idea that calling ?Messi a God is a common expression of adoration and not blasphemous. However, he also made it clear that Messi is not a God.
When asked whether it is sacrilegious to call Messi God, Pope Francis replied: “In theory, it is sacrilege… but I don’t believe it.”
He added: “People can say he is God, just as they may say ‘I adore you’ but only God can be worshipped. Those are expressions from people. ‘This is a God with the ball on the field’ is a popular way for someone to express themselves.
“Of course, he is very good, but he isn’t God.”
Whilst his nickname may be up for debate, Messi’s talent is certainly not in question. In his 675 appearances for ?Barcelona, the Argentine has racked up 593 goals and 238 assists, cementing his legacy as one of the finest to ever play the game.
His club form has been nothing short of sensational across the last 15 years. However, many have criticised his lack of success with his international side Argentina. Messi has managed 65 goals in 129 appearances for his country which, despite still being an incredible record, is not as impressive as his club form.
In fact, the only success he has achieved with Argentina is a gold medal from the 2008 Olympic Games. Many have claimed that the Barcelona man must guide his country to a World Cup trophy for him to be viewed as the best ever, but he was powerless to prevent Argentina from elimination at the hands of eventual winners France last summer.
He had remained out of the Argentina squad ever since, but made his long-awaited return to international duty when he captained the side in their 3-1 loss to Venezuela in March.