PSG announce three more COVID-19 positives; Steve Mandanda withdraws from France squad after contracting virus

Three more PSG players tested positive for the coronavirus, taking the number so far to six and throwing the club's start to the new season into chaos.

The Associated Press September 04, 2020 09:13:01 IST
PSG announce three more COVID-19 positives; Steve Mandanda withdraws from France squad after contracting virus

Paris: Three more Paris Saint-Germain players tested positive for the coronavirus, taking the number so far to six and throwing the club's start to the new season into chaos.

PSG announced the positive tests late on Thursday, without giving the names of the players and only saying that they are “subject to the appropriate health protocol."

But sports daily L'Equipe named them as defender Marquinhos, goalkeeper Keylor Navas and striker Mauro Icardi. The other three cases, confirmed by the club on Wednesday, reportedly are forward Neymar, winger Angel Di Maria and midfielder Leandro Paredes.

All six were part of a recent holiday trip to Ibiza in Spain, which was authorized, following the club's defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League final on 23 August. Some players posted photos on their social network accounts, posing together with their arms around each other or with their partners.

In order to make that trip possible, PSG's opening league game of the new campaign away to Lens — initially scheduled for 29 August — was pushed back to 10 September, drawing strong criticism from Lens fans.

Some observers questioned the wisdom of letting players go off on holiday during a pandemic and whether the club lacks authority over its stars.

French champion PSG is also meant to face bitter rival Marseille at home three days after the Lens game, but both could yet be postponed because of health and safety protocol. Players put in isolation are forbidden from training with the squad or playing for 14 days after a positive test, unless they produce two negative tests within 48 hours.

Should PSG's games be postponed, the club faces a backlog of matches with the Champions League starting on 20 October.

The first game of the French soccer season was postponed last month because of an outbreak of COVID-19 cases at Marseille after the southern club confirmed four positive cases among its first-team players and staff.

Several other French clubs have been hit by the virus, including Montpellier, Rennes and Lyon.

Mandanda tests psotive

France goalkeeper Steve Mandanda has been withdrawn from the squad ahead of upcoming matches after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The whole squad and staff underwent a test on Wednesday afternoon and Mandanda's result came back positive for Covid-19 following a second test to confirm it.

“Steve Mandanda therefore will not be able to take part in the game in Sweden and will leave the squad on Friday morning,” the French Football Federation said in a statement late on Thursday.

France plays Sweden in the Nations League on Saturday before facing Croatia at home on Tuesday.

The 35-year-old Mandanda is No. 2 to first-choice goalie Hugo Lloris, and has played 32 times for France. He made his international debut in 2008.

Midfielders Paul Pogba and Houssem Aouar tested positive for the virus last week and were replaced in the squad.

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