Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has opened up about the team’s visit to the Vatican on Wednesday morning, describing it as “incredible” and an “achievement”, urging his players to draw inspiration from the Pope’s words.

Following their Champions League encounter with Lazio, representatives from Celtic, including players, coaches, and club management, were invited to meet Pope Francis.

The visit, which came after a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico, served as a morale booster for the team. Rodgers highlighted the significance of the audience with the Pope, calling it a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity. During the meeting, Rodgers presented a signed Celtic strip to the Pope.

Rodgers recounted how the team’s anticipation for the visit had been building since it was first mentioned by Michael Nicholson a few weeks prior. The experience, according to Rodgers, was not just an honour but an achievement in life, leaving a lasting impression on all who attended.

Asked if the message was one that winning and losing is not important, Rodgers said: “I’m not sure that transcends to Glasgow! But no, the spirit of what he was saying was very true. It’s what you say to players, have that spirit,” as quoted by Record Sport. 

“To be number one, think that you are number two so that you are always pushing. The message, in terms of playing as an amateur, is to play with spirit and joy of the game. His words were very good. The words ring true for life, not just football. All of us who were there and got to understand the meaning of what he was saying, you can only learn from it.

“When Michael Nicholson mentioned it a few weeks prior to going, it was something that we were all looking forward to. It’s an achievement in life, it was incredible to be there. I was very honoured.”

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