The Lionel Messi effect: France PM gives Pope Francis signed jersey of the PSG superstar

Arjun Singh Devgan
Pope Francis Meets Italy and Argentina Football Teams
Pope Francis Meets Italy and Argentina Football Teams / Claudio Villa/GettyImages

Argentina icon, Lionel Messi is widely considered to be the greatest player in the history of the sport with the striker winning numerous professional and individual honours during his career so far, including a record six Ballon d'Or awards.

Messi is also extremely popular off the field and it was seen once again when France's prime minister, Jean Castex gave Pope Francis a jersey signed the player himself. Jean Castex gave the Pope the glass-framed No. 30 jersey, signed by Messi, who plays for Paris St. Germain, following 35 minutes of private talks at the Vatican.

The Pope is who is known to be a keen soccer fan and lifelong fan of the of the Buenos Aires San Lorenzo soccer team, has hailed his fellow countryman on more than one occasion. The Pope who has met Messi, called him one of the greatest soccer players of all time.

This just goes to show the effect that the Paris Saint-Germain star has all over the world, not only due to his exploits on the field but off the field too. Messi for his part is being touted as the favourite to win his eighth Ballon d'Or award after leading Argentina to their first Copa America title since 1993, earlier in the summer.