Vatican daily praises Barcelona

The Vatican newspaper made a rare foray into sports, praising Barcelona’s triumph over Manchester United in the Champions League final as a victory of creativity over athleticism.

“Football, Finally,” was the headline in Thursday’s editions of L’Osservatore Romano, next to a photo of Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola thrown into the air by his players.

“Technique and creativity have had the better of athletic vigor,” the newspaper said.

The paper praised the Catalan team for teaching a “lesson in style” to a soccer world often dominated by bitter disputes.

L’Osservatore Romano also commended the fans at Stadio Olimpico, saying their behavior during Barcelona’s 2-0 win Wednesday was “exemplary.”

Hundreds of fans, mostly from Barcelona, went to the Vatican on Wednesday for Pope Benedict XVI’s weekly public audience in St. Peter’s Square.