Maradona to the Pope: 'The Vatican is a lie'

Retired Argentinian Diego Maradona(Photo: Neogeolegend)

Footballing legend Diego Maradona has told Pope Francis to do more to reform the Catholic Church.

Speaking in an interview with a Naples TV station, the Argentinian said he was disappointed with the Vatican but had faith in Pope Francis to change the Church. 

"The Vatican, for me, is a lie because instead of giving to people it takes away. All popes have done this and I don't want him to do it," he was quoted as saying by Reuters.

The 'hand of God' footballer expressed his desire to meet the Pope in person and "tell you the things you have to do for the world". 

He said: "I am disappointed with the Vatican but I believe in you because you are making changes and pointing us towards more human things, things that I would like to see in the Church." 

Pope Francis, a fellow Argentinian, has reinvigorated the Catholic Church after years of sex abuse scandals and frustration among the faithful over corruption.  

Since his election last year, he has called the clergy back to a humble, people-centred faith and sought to embrace people who have traditionally felt excluded from the Catholic fold.

Maradona himself has something of a religious following.  The Iglesia Maradoniana - or Church of Maradona - was founded by his fans in 1998 and even has its own Ten Commandments, which stipulate among other things that devotees must love football over all things and preach the words of "Diego Maradona" all over the world.