Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez has coronavirus
Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez has coronavirus Image Credit: Reuters

Manchester City were hit with an early setback as the English Premier League gears up for the big kick-off this weekend as Riyad Mahrez and Aymeric Laporte have tested positive for coronavirus just five days before the start of the season, the club announced on Monday.

City said in a statement that French defender Laporte and Algerian international forward Mahrez were self-isolating in accordance with Premier League and government rules.

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“Neither is displaying symptoms of the virus,” the statement said. “Everyone at the club wishes Riyad and Aymeric a speedy recovery ahead of their return to training and the new season.”

The Premier League season starts on Saturday but Manchester City do not open their campaign until September 21, when they play Wolves.

City and neighbours Manchester United are missing the opening weekend to give them extra time to recover from a late end to the 2019/20 season because both were involved in European competition.

Mahrez tweeted: “Thank you for all the nice messages, I’m good. Stay safe everyone take care of you.”

Laporte thanked fans for their messages of support, saying he would be back soon.