Pope to kids: I wasn't 'bravo' at soccer, so I played goalie

ROME (AP) Pope Francis has told children at an Italian sports center he didn't play soccer very well as a youth and was stuck with the nickname `'stiff leg.''

An 11-year-old boy asked Francis during a parish visit in the Rome suburb of Acilia Sunday afternoon if he had played soccer as a child.

Francis, a keen soccer fan in his native Argentina, said since he wasn't `'bravo'' he usually ended up playing goalie.

The pope said: `'When I was your age, I played soccer, but I wasn't `bravo' at playing soccer, and where I come from, they call you `pata dura,' `stiff leg.'''

He added: ''I was a `pata dura' and that's why I usually was the goalie, so I wouldn't have to move around.''

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.