This bleeds into the Dodgers-Rockies game at noon, kickball breath

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AP Photo/Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano
Pope Benedict XVI, left, greets Swiss referee Massimo Busacca at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican today. Busacca has been chosen to take charge of the UEFA Champions League Final between Barcelona and Manchester United at Rome’s Olympic Stadium this evening. Others are referee assistants Matthias Arnet, third from right, and Francesco Buragina, right, and fourth official Claudio Circhetta, second from right.

Today, ESPN, 11:25 a.m. (with the Dodgers-Rockies starting at noon on Prime Ticket) will be the Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United and … wait, there’s a stabbing pain in my leg …

ROME (AP) — An American and Manchester United fan were hospitalized after being stabbed today ahead of the Champions League final. Nine people, including United and Barcelona supporters, were arrested.

Four Italians were arrested in Ostia, on the coast near Rome, after they attacked an American, apparently mistaking him for a United supporter. The man was beaten up and stabbed in his thigh and backside, police said.

A United fan was taken to a hospital after he was stabbed in the thigh, police said. The fan reported that he had been attacked by four people near his hotel in the Vatican area.

Up to 50,000 United and Barcelona supporters converged on Rome for the match tonight, and large numbers of police patrolled the city.

Three Barcelona fans were arrested after police searched their car and found blunt objects, including clubs and a javelin, police said. They were traveling from Civitavecchia, a port near Rome where hundreds of Spanish fans had arrived by ship.

Two United fans were arrested for assaulting bystanders and police in Campo de Fiori, a historic piazza and popular tourist hangout. Police said the men were drunk despite a ban on alcohol sales imposed by authorities in areas including the city center and near the stadium.

Hundreds attended Pope Benedict XVI’s public audience at the Vatican, waving their flags and scarves before the pontiff. The match referee, Massimo Busacca of Switzerland, greeted the pope at the end of the audience.

Some 67,000 people are expected to pack the Stadio Olimpico for the match.

Many could be stabbed later.

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