Trump denies he wants to buy Pope's favourite football team

Trump denied the tabloid allegations, saying he would not buy a team he "never even heard of"
PHOTO: Reuters

NEW YORK - It seems not even bombastic billionaire Donald Trump would go so far as to snatch something so close to the heart of Pope Francis.

The combative White House candidate denied on Friday a tabloid story that he was looking to buy the pope's favourite football club, San Lorenzo in Argentina.

Even then, his denial came laden with insults.

"A phony story that I am trying to buy a football team in Argentina is untrue. Never even heard of the team - no interest!" he tweeted to his nearly four million followers.

Citing unnamed sources, the New York Post said Trump had sent a statement of interest to San Lorenzo.

But the vice president of the Argentinian club said he would rather do business with Donald Duck.

"Poor Donald. I'll take the Duck any day. He's more serious," tweeted popular TV host and sports businessman Marcelo Tinelli.

The club, one of the most popular in football-mad Argentina, is currently a non-profit organisation whose managers are voted in by its members.

Pope Francis is a life-long fan who grew up watching the team's matches at its stadium in Buenos Aires.

Real estate tycoon Trump is loathed by many Latino voters in the United States for accusing Mexican immigrants of being drug dealers, criminals and rapists.

The 69-year-old mogul leads the list of Republicans running for president with 28 per cent support among registered voters nationwide, according to a poll by Quinnipiac University.

Tinelli is one of Argentina's most popular TV stars and also a vice president of the Argentine Football Association.