Dubai: The Coronavirus pandemic continued to spread panic sent the football world in a tizzy on Thursday.
Cristiano Ronaldo, the talismanic Juventus star, has opted for self isolation back in Portugal after his teammate Daniele Rugani tested positive for Coronavirus, the entire Real Madrid team is in quarantine as the Spanish La Liga postponed all their action for the next two weeks as a precautionary measure.
The Uefa Champions League and Europa League, both of which reached the quarter final stages, also look set to be postponed by the European football’s governing body soon, according to Spanish publication Marca.
Media reports say that Ronaldo returned to visit his mother who suffered a stroke recently and during his stay in Madeira, the 25-year-old defender Rugani tested positive and both Juventus and Inter have been put in quarantine after their recent Derby d’Italia.
Serie A has been suspended and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte put the whole country in lockdown until April 3, a decision made after the government decided to suspend all sport.
The Spanish La Liga, which had earlier this week announced that they would be hosting their league matches behind closed doors, leapt into an emergency mode and suspended all matches in their top two divisions for at least two weeks after a meeting with the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and the Spanish Players Union (AFE).
The decision was triggered off as Real Madrid confirmed the first team had gone into quarantine after one of the club’s basketball players had tested positive for coronavirus. Real Madrid’s basketball and football players share facilities at the club’s training ground.
Spain’s Copa del Rey final between Basque rivals Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao, scheduled for April 18 in Seville, has already been postponed after both clubs agreed a suspension was preferable to playing the fixture without supporters.
The first ever Bundesliga game to be played behind closed doors took place on Wednesday, when Borussia Moenchengladbach beat Cologne 2-1 in an empty stadium. All matches in the Bundesliga scheduled for this weekend will be played behind closed doors as well.
The Premier League, meanwhile, is so far the least affected of Europe’s major divisions. Manchester City’s clash with Arsenal has been the only match postponed as precautionary measure after Arsenal players came into contact with Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis following their Europa League defeat by the Greek side two weeks ago.
However, Arsenal’s visit to Brighton is still planned to go ahead on Saturday as the 14-day period since contact was made with Marinakis will have expired.
No restrictions have yet been made on supporters attending stadiums.
However, the The Times reported the UK government is mulling plans to play games behind closed doors in order to complete the season and ban pubs from televising matches to avoid people congregating there instead - which if implemented - will be another bodyblow for the European football scene.