Head doctor for Madrid soccer team calls Pope Francis a ‘very stubborn patient’


Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square, Sept. 28, 2022 / Pablo Esparza / CNA

Rome Newsroom, Nov 23, 2022 / 07:34 am (CNA).

The Vatican has recruited the head doctor of a Madrid soccer team among a team of specialists to help treat Pope Francis’ knee problem.

José María Villalón, a sports medicine specialist and the head doctor of the Atlético de Madrid soccer team, described the pope as a “very stubborn patient” in a radio interview this week.

The doctor said that Pope Francis is “a very nice and very stubborn patient in the sense that there are surgical procedures that he does not want. We have to offer him more conservative treatments so that he will agree to them.”

Speaking in an interview with COPE, the Spanish bishops’ conference radio station, on November 20, Villalón said that the pope’s issue with his knee had affected some of his other joints as well.

“Sometimes it starts with a joint with osteoarthritis and other joints deteriorate because they are overloaded,” he said. “We are trying to make sure that this does not advance and that things get better.”

Villalón said that he was contacted by both the Apostolic Nunciature in Spain and the Spanish bishops’ conference, who “asked a group of specialists if we could help the pope.”

Pope Francis, who turns 86 next month, has alternated between using a wheelchair and a walking cane since May.

Earlier this month, the pope told journalists that he was in “a lot of pain” on a flight to Bahrain. Pope Francis has previously canceled public appearances and trips due to his knee trouble, including a scheduled trip to Africa in July.

Villalón said that at first he was “nervous” during his first communication with the pope, but that they bonded because “he likes soccer.”

In particular, the pope expressed his fondness for Atlético de Madrid’s striker, Ángel Correa, an Argentine soccer player who used to play for the San Lorenzo soccer club in Buenos Aires.

Correa recently joined Argentina’s national soccer team at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, where Argentina suffered a shocking defeat in a game against Saudi Arabia on Nov. 22.

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.

About Catholic News Agency 9055 Articles
Catholic News Agency (www.catholicnewsagency.com)

1 Comment

  1. Pope Francis is blessed with an indomitable spirit. The Holy Father is Ignatian to the core. Saint Ignatius of Loyola continues to inspire the young and the young at heart.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.