Coppa Italia finalists Juventus and Milan have an audience with the Pope

Italy's two Coppa Italia finalists AC Milan and Juventus had an audience with the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, in the Vatican on Friday.

Players and staff of both clubs, who will meet in the Eternal City on Saturday evening, were in attendance along with Serie A representatives, and the Pope reminded the players of their role as an example to society.

"Your presence here offers me the opportunity to express my appreciation for the professional qualities and the beautiful traditions which your sporting society and football in general offers," the Pope said. "I think of all of the fans, particularly the young ones, who love to follow you.

"You attract the attention of these people, who admire you, and for this you are required to behave in a way that they can always perceive in you the human values of sportspeople devoted to testifying for the authentic values of sport.

"You are champions in sport, but especially champions in life."

The match officials for Saturday night's fixture were also in attendance on Friday, where the Pope received shirts from both of the Coppa Italia finalists and a replica of the winners' trophy.