Cristiano Ronaldo tests positive for COVID-19, Portuguese Football Federation says he's asymptomatic

The Portuguese federation said Ronaldo's result prompted another round of tests for the rest of the national squad. It said everyone else in the team tested negative.

The Associated Press October 13, 2020 20:04:53 IST
Cristiano Ronaldo tests positive for COVID-19, Portuguese Football Federation says he's asymptomatic

Ronaldo is currently on international duty with Portugal. AP

Cristiano Ronaldo has become the latest international football star to test positive for the coronavirus .

The Portuguese football federation said Tuesday that Ronaldo was doing well and had no symptoms after he tested positive while with his country's national team.

He was in isolation and was dropped from the country's Nations League match against Sweden on Wednesday in Lisbon.

"Ronaldo is doing great. He is dealing very well with this," Portugal coach Fernando Santos said. "He is asymptomatic, he has no problems. He doesn't even know how this happened to him."

Ronaldo, one of the most prolific goal scorers in the sport's history, played in the 0-0 draw at France in the Nations League on Sunday and in the 0-0 draw against Spain in a friendly last week.

On Monday, the Juventus forward posted a photo on Twitter and Instagram showing him and the rest of the Portugal squad having a meal together. The players were all close to each other at a table, with a smiling Ronaldo apparently taking the photo himself at the front end.

Along with the tweet, Ronaldo wrote, in Portuguese, "United on and off the field!"

Photos published by Portuguese media showed Ronaldo on a balcony overlooking his teammates practicing below on a field at the national team's training center. In one of the images, he was shown giving the thumbs-up sign.

The 35-year-old Ronaldo last month became only the second male football player to reach 100 goals for a national team, after former Iran striker Ali Daei.

Players who tested positive for COVID-19 recently include Neymar, Kylian Mbappé, Paul Pogba, Paulo Dybala, Ángel Di María, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Diego Costa.

The Portuguese federation said Ronaldo's result prompted another round of tests for the rest of the national squad. It said everyone else in the team tested negative.

Tuesday's practice session was moved from the morning to the afternoon so there was time for all the results to come back.

"We have done everything we were told, we have taken all precautions," Santos said. "We are here confined. It's like a bubble. No one is coming in or going out. In the first training period there was no problem, but now there was a problem, but not because we broke the rules. It just happened. The players are very concerned about abiding by the safety rules."

Santos said Ronaldo's positive result came on Monday and he remained in isolation in his room until he could be tested again on Tuesday along with the rest of the squad. He said the players have been tested seven times since they arrived.

"Every day we have been tested and of course that leaves us with a bitter taste because we have done everything right," he said. "We followed every health rule. Unfortunately, this still happened. That's life."

Two other Portugal players, José Fonte and Anthony Lopes, tested positive for COVID-19 recently.

Speaking during an official visit to Belgium, Portugal President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said he had already wished Ronaldo the best in his recovery.

Across Europe, governments are ratcheting up restrictions to try to beat back a resurgence of the virus. More than 700,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Europe last week, a jump of 34% from the previous week, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.

Doctors are warning that while many of the new cases are in younger people, who tend to have milder symptoms, the virus could again start spreading widely among older people, resulting in more serious illnesses.

Portugal and France lead Group 3 of the Nations League with seven points each after three matches.

Ronaldo could miss Juventus' Serie A match at Crotone on Saturday and the team's Champions League opener at Dynamo Kyiv next Tuesday. And depending on his condition and the results of future tests, he could also miss the much-anticipated match against Barcelona on 28 October.

Juventus had been in isolation following positive tests for two staff members. There has been some controversy that Ronaldo and six other players were allowed to leave the isolated group and join their national teams.

Portugal's next round of matches will be next month.

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