Religious Mancini offers thanks to outgoing pope

Clawing back a huge deficit in the Premier League title race

hasn’t been the only thing on Roberto Mancini’s mind.

The Manchester City manager made the unusual move of beginning

his post-match news conference on Sunday after a 2-0 victory over

Chelsea by thanking outgoing Pope Benedict XVI for his eight years

of service.

Hours earlier, Benedict had bestowed his final Sunday blessing

of his pontificate on a cheering crowd in St. Peter’s Square at the

Vatican. On Thursday, he will become the first pope to have

resigned from the papacy in 600 years.

”For us, it is the last Sunday for our pope and I would like to

say thank you to this pope for what he did in eight years,”

Mancini said.

Mancini, a Catholic, visited the holy village of Medjugorje in

Bosnia during the run-in to last season’s league title, which City

won on the final day.

City is 12 points behind Manchester United with 11 games

remaining this season.