The Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro is threatening to sue over an Italian advertisement featuring Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer statue, The Independent reports.
The advertisement which shows Christ the Redeemer wearing the country's blue football shirt has sparked outrage in Brazil.
Italy's state broadcaster Rai aired a trailer for its coverage that includes the towering statue, clad in a digitally-produced number 10 azure Italia shirt.
The advert also includes children playing street football in Brazil wearing Italy shirts and a message saying 'Brazil awaits us.'
The Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro, which owns the imaging rights to Christ the Redeemer, blasted the depiction as 'blasphemous' and described 'exploiting' the iconic statue as a crime, the Italian newspaper Corriere reported.
The Church has threatened to sue Rai for between 15 and 21 million real (£4 million - £6 million), but said it would put the money towards charitable causes if it wins the case.
Speaking to Brazil's O Globo newspaper, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese compared the 'disrespectful' advert to 'Brazilian TV making an advert in which mulatto girls engaged in indecent behaviour with the gladiators of the Colosseum.'
Alessandro Maria Tirelli, an Italian lawyer who notified Rai of the potential lawsuit, was reportedly quoted in Il Fatto Quotidiano as saying: 'The Archdiocese feels outraged.'