Argentine footballers to dedicate win to Pope

Representatives of Argentina's San Lorenzo first division football team are travelling to the Vatican on Monday to dedicate their national championship title to their top fan, Pope Francis.

Team president Matias Lammens said after winning the Argentine title on Sunday that he would fly to Rome along with team coach Juan Antonio Pizzi, team vice president Marcelo Tinelli and several players.

The pope, an avid San Lorenzo fan, also happens to turn 77 on Tuesday.

The Argentine pontiff has pushed for sports to take a more prominent place in the Church, championing team games as good for mind, body and soul and calling for more "spiritual athletes."

Francis met with representatives of the team -- officially Club Atletico San Lorenzo de Almagro -- soon after he became pope in March.

The team traces its origins to 1907, when a Catholic priest, Lorenzo Massa, allowed boys playing football in the streets of Buenos Aires to play in his church's yard. The club was founded the following year.

San Lorenzo will now represent Argentina in the annual Copa Libertadores South American professional football tournament.