Pope Greets Organizers of '06 World Cup

Franz Beckenbauer Greets a Fellow Bavarian

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 26, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Franz Beckenbauer, one of Germany’s best soccer players ever, was able to meet Benedict XVI and said afterward: «This was one of the most moving moments of my life.»

Beckenbauer is president of the German Organizing Committee of the 2006 Soccer World Cup. He wanted to culminate his welcome tour to the 31 countries that have won a place in this championship, by visiting the Pope, a fellow Bavarian.

At the end of today’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square, Beckenbauer got his wish. The Holy Father granted a brief private audience to the Organizing Committee’s delegation.

Beckenbauer took advantage of the occasion to give the Pope a 2006 FIFA World Cup pennant.

Benedict XVI thanked him for the gift and wished him «lots of luck for the World Cup in Germany,» adding that «I’ll be watching many of the games on TV.»

When he was archbishop of Munich, Joseph Ratzinger (the future Pope) did not hide his support for the Bayern Munich soccer team.

Beckenbauer won the European Cup with that team on three occasions. He is the only man who has won the World Cup as player and trainer.

The Pontiff also greeted Rudi Völler, a member of the Organizing Committee delegation, in his role as 2006 FIFA World Cup international ambassador.

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