Cristiano Ronaldo, 35, was already in his home country of Portugal when the news broke Wednesday (Mar. 11) that his fellow Juventus player Daniele Rugani, 25, came down with coronavirus. After the Italian soccer team issued a statement that Daniele “tested positive for Coronavirus-COVID-19 and is currently asymptomatic,” Ronaldo had no choice but to self-quarantine himself until given permission to rejoin the defending Serie A champs back in Italy. “Ronaldo has not trained and remains in Madeira pending developments related to the current health emergency,” the team said in a statement, per CNN.
Ronaldo was in Portugal to visit his mother, who recently reportedly suffered a stroke. “Thank you for all your messages of support for my mum. She is currently stable and recovering in hospital. Me and my family would like to thank the medical team looking after her, and kindly ask that we are all given some privacy at this time,” he tweeted on Mar. 3. He hasn’t tweeted since the news of Rugani’s diagnosis, but Daniele tweeted some reassurance to all his fans. “You’ve read the news, so I want to reassure everyone who’s worried about me, I’m fine.”
“I urge everyone to respect the rules, because this virus makes no distinction! Let’s do it for ourselves, for our loved ones and for those around us,” he added. Italy is currently bearing the brunt of the pandemic. Over 12,000 people have contracted the disease in the European country. The current death toll is 827, and the Government has ordered a near-complete shutdown. All shops, bars, and restaurants have been ordered closed, per The Guardian, and non-essential travel has been banned.
Avrete letto la notizia e per questo ci tengo a tranquillizzare tutti coloro che si stanno preoccupando per me, sto bene.
Invito tutti a rispettare le regole, perché questo virus non fa distinzioni! Facciamolo per noi stessi, per i nostri cari e per chi ci circonda.#grazie pic.twitter.com/1QqewIKjie
— Daniele Rugani (@DanieleRugani) March 12, 2020
“Juventus football club is currently activating all the isolation procedures required by law, including those who have had contact with [Daniele],” the club said in its statement, per ESPN. Rugani now becomes the most prominent professional soccer player/footballer to test positive for the virus. The German team Hanover also announced on Mar. 11 that their defender, Timo Hubers, tested positive for the virus. Rugani was an unused substitute in Juventus’ last game, a home match against Inter Milan. Shortly after Juventus’ announcement, Inter released a statement saying the club has decided to suspend “all competitive activities” until further notice.
What this means for the rest of Serie A season is unclear. With about 12 matches left to play, Juve currently leads Lazio by just one point, with Inter Milan in a distant third place.
The sports world is the latest to be affected by the outbreak of coronavirus. The NBA announced on Mar. 11 that they would be suspending their season after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive. The NCAA also announced that their men’s and women’s basketball tournaments (aka March Madness) would be played without fans in attendance, citing concerns of spreading coronavirus. On top of that, the NHL is bracing for the news that they would be suspending its season as the world attempts to get this pandemic under control.