Coronavirus (Covid-19) is an infectious disease caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory System Coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2). First discovered in China on the 31st of December 2019, the virus has quickly become a global pandemic, bringing various social, political, and economic activities to a halt. Like all social activities, football has also been significantly affected, with numerous leagues and competitions being forced to postpone matches. International tournaments like the Euros 2020 and Copa America that were scheduled to take place this summer have been postponed till next year while the Olympic games is currently in doubt. The 2019/20 UEFA Champions League and 2019/20 Europa League has been put on hold m
In this article, TOP SOCCER BLOG looks at the football players, managers, and personalities that have tested positive for the coronavirus so far.
In England, we have Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, Chelsea player Callum Hudson-Odoi, and Portsmouth F.C players, Sean Ragett, Andy Cannon, James Bolton and Haji Mnoga.
In Spain, La Liga side Valencia confirmed 5 cases among their staff and players of which we have Ezequiel Garay and Eliaquim Mangala.
On the 17th of March, Espanyol announced that 6 members of their staff and players tested positive for the virus.
Alaves also confirmed that 15 members of their team (3 players, 7 staff members, and 5 workers) tested positive for coronavirus on March 18.
Elche confirmed that 1 player tested positive for the virus while a lower division club Athletico Portada Alta, announced the death of their 21-year-old youth team manager Francisco Garcia due to coronavirus.
Italy has been one of the worst-hit countries by the virus with an alarming 63,927 cases and 6,077 deaths so far. Serie A giants Juventus have so far confirmed 3 positive cases in; Daniele Rugani, Blaise Matuidi and Paulo Dybala.
5 Sampdoria players; Manolo Gabbiadini, Albin Ekdal, Antonino La Gumina, Morten Thorsby, Fabio Depaoli and Bartosz Bereszzynski have all tested positive.
Fiorentina have 3 positive cases among their players namely, Dusan Vlahovic, Patrick Cutrone, and German Pezzella.
AC Milan technical director Paulo Maldini and his son Daniel Maldini have also tested positive. (Daniel Maldini plays for the club’s U-19 team).
Mattia Zaccagni of Hellas Verona also tested positive for coronavirus.
In Germany, Luca Kilan of Bundesliga side Paderborn tested positive. Fellow Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt confirmed 2 cases among their players but did not name the affected players while Bundesliga 2 side Hannover 96, have 2 positive cases in; Timo Hubers and Jannes Horn.
Although France has a high number of coronavirus cases, South Korea’s Hyun-Jun Suk —who plays for Ligue 2 side Troyes — is the only footballer to have tested positive in the country as at the time of writing this article.
Elsewhere, former Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini who currently plays for Chinese side Shandong Luneng tested positive for the virus.
Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis tested positive.
On March 21, former Real Madrid president Lorenzo Sanz died after contracting the coronavirus.
Galatasaray vice president Abdurrahim Albayrak and manager Fatih Terim have both tested positive for the virus.
In Mexico, Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla tested positive.
President of the professional Japanese football association Kozo Tashima, president of the Serbian football association Slavia Kokeza and president of the Swiss football association Dominique Blanc have all tested positive for coronavirus.
In another vein, as a result of the suspension of the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) due to coronavirus, tragedy struck as Enugu Rangers midfielder Ifeanyi George, died in a car accident while Enyimba midfielder Dayo Ojo was kidnapped. Both players were returning home from their respective clubs.
Furthermore, Belarus is the only European country that has refused to suspend its football league due to the coronavirus.
With the suspension/postponement of leagues and other competitions, it could take months for players to get back to full fitness, and there will be a higher risk of injury when football resumes.
Written by Muftaudeen Abdullahi Ishola