BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Israeli soccer player Eran Zahavi headlined the video announcing Pope Francis’ second Soccer for Peace exhibition match.
The match is scheduled for Oct. 12 in Rome.
Zahavi recorded the video when he was part of the Maccabi Tel Aviv club; he now plays for Guangzhou RF in China. His message was translated into Italian.
“Shalom, this is Eran Zahavi, a player for Maccabi Tel Aviv and the national team of Israel. I would like to offer my support for the game for peace. I send to you from here great regards and all the best,” Zahavi said on the video.
The match will be called “United for Peace” and is hosted by Scholas Ocurrentes, the Pontifical Academy for art, sports and technology to promote peace, as well as the Pupi Foundation, a charity founded by the Argentine soccer player Javier “Pupi” Zanetti.
Soccer legends such as Ronaldinho and Roberto Carlos of Brazil, and Juan Sebastián Verón of Argentina are scheduled to participate.
“It is incredibly important because we aim to reach some 50 percent of young people who do not receive education with our programs,” said Argentine Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. “An initiative such as this one puts sport and beauty together and is able to communicate the importance of education for all.”
During the opening ceremony of the match, Pope Francis will bless the players and present them with the Olive Tree of Peace, which will later be planted in the stadium, symbolizing peace and encounter.