The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world’s finest to their knees, forcing all of humanity to put its life on hold. It has been months since we familiarised ourselves with the deadly pathogen, but we are yet to find a way out of it.
Football, the most celebrated sport, too, has had a few tussles with the novel coronavirus. Many big names who are plying their trade in the Premier League and La Liga, contracted COVID-19, but all of them have come out stronger on the other end.
With La Liga and the Premier League set to resume from 11th and 17th June respectively, here is a list of stars from both leagues who have tackled COVID-19 head-on.
Chelsea youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi was the first Premier League star to contract COVID-19. The 19-year-old England international tested positive in March itself, after showing minor symptoms.
Fortunately, the Blues starlet did not face any complications and bounced back only a couple of weeks after.
Norwich City player, Sean Raggett, who is currently on loan at Portsmouth, also tested positive for COVID-19 in late March.
The 26-year-old defender only had minor symptoms and recovered promptly after putting himself in self-isolation. Two of his team-mates at Portsmouth, James Bolton and Andy Cannon, also tested positive for the virus. Both League One stars are now corona free.
Valencia stalwart, Ezequiel Garay, was the first player of the Spanish first division, La Liga, to test positive for COVID-19.
Although COVID-19 positive, the 33-year-old showed little to no symptoms and did not require medical assistance. He is now fit to play and is likely to feature in Valencia’s clash against Levante, next week.
Former Manchester City centre-back, Eliaquim Mangala, was the next La Liga star to be tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Mangala, who moved to Valencia at the start of the season, is said to have caught the disease through his team-mate, Garay.
The Frenchman was in self-isolation for a couple of weeks and tested negative soon after.
On March 16th, Valencia confirmed four more cases within the first-team squad but refrained from revealing their names.
Newly-appointed Arsenal coach, Mikel Arteta, tested positive for COVID-19 on the 12th of March. The former Manchester City assistant coach was the first Premier League manager to contract the coronavirus.
Arteta’s wife and nanny, too, had contracted the virus, which left his children vulnerable to the novel virus. Fortunately, none of his three children caught the virus, and the whole family is now over the horrific chapter.
Leicester City manager, Brendan Rodgers, caught the deadly virus in March. Unlike the Arsenal coach, Rodgers had a hard time carrying out day-to-day tasks. He likened the respiratory complications of COVID-19 to that of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
After three weeks of weakness and breathlessness, the situation started to improve. The former Liverpool boss is now completely COVID-free and gearing to lead his team to a Champions League spot.
Close calls and hidden identities
While the likes of Chelsea, Valencia, and Arsenal were open about the disease, many other clubs weren’t that forthcoming.
La Liga side, Real Madrid had a close shave with the virus when one player of their basketball squad tested positive. As the two squads share facilities, both teams were placed in quarantine. Fortunately, no other player was tested positive for COVID-19.
On March 13th, Everton placed its squad under self-isolation after a player exhibited COVID-19-like symptoms. Manchester City left-back, Benjamin Mendy, too, was forced to self-isolate after one of his family members tested positive for the coronavirus.
Bournemouth, too, sent five of his first-team staff in self-isolation, after they reported symptoms consistent with the pathogen.
On 17th March, Espanyol confirmed that six first-team players had tested positive for COVID-19 but refused to name them. Alaves, too, intimated that 15 members of the team contracted the virus, including three footballers. Following Espanyol’s lead, the Babazorros also didn’t name the affected.
Also Read: How COVID-19 has impacted Serie A