Why did Pope Francis receive a signed Lisandro Martinez’s Manchester United shirt

After an audience with an interfaith group from the city at The Vatican, fans reacted to Pope Francis receiving a signed Lisandro Martinez shirt.

On Thursday morning, the Major of Manchester, Andy Burnham, gave the head of the Catholic Church a Manchester United jersey featuring a personal message from Martinez during his visit to Rome.

United’s official website states that the 88-year-old Pope Francis, who was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is a keen football fan, greatly admires center-back Martinez, who recently lifted the World Cup with La Albiceleste.

When Mayor Burnham’s visit was communicated to the club and player, they arranged for a shirt signed by the former Ajax defender.

According to reports, the shirt bore a personal message from Martinez that said: “Your holiness, with much love, Licha” and was presented to Pope Francis during the visit by Mayor Burnham.

The UK Ambassador to the Holy See, Chris Trott, shared several photos from the day, including the moment when Burnham presented the Martinez jersey to the Pope.

“Very pleased to join this amazing interfaith group in their audience with@Pontifexthis morning,” Trott tweeted. “Congratulations on your work, which the Pope wholeheartedly endorsed.”

He added: “I think@Pontifexparticularly appreciated this gift, presented by@AndyBurnhamGMand the Lord Mayor.”

Here’s how fans reacted to the scene.

One said: “The crossover we didn’t know we needed,” while another wrote: “When I saw this first time I thought it was fake.”

A third commented: “It’s a sign Lisandro Martinez’s first season has gone quite well when Pope Francis is getting his framed shirt…”

A fourth added: “File this one under the most random thing you’ll see today. Pope Francis receiving a Lisandro Martínez shirt.”

Martinez, meanwhile, has been ruled out until the end of the season after fracturing a metatarsal bone in his foot during Manchester United’s Europa League clash against Sevilla.

The 25-year-old, who has made 55 appearances in all competitions for club and country this season, recently confirmed that “everything went well” during his surgery.

He added: “Now focusing on the recovery.”

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