FACTCHECK: Popular football stars who have contracted coronavirus

The coronavirus outbreak has led to an almost complete shutdown of professional sports in the world.

The virus, Covid-19, having originated from Wuhan in China in December last year, continues to wreak havoc in the sporting world.

Football has been at the epicentre of this deadly virus that continues to destroy people irrespective of their race, colour, and creed or where they come from.

Domestic club football across much of Europe has been halted while UEFA postponed Champions League and Europa League games until further notice.

Despite footballers being incredibly fit athletes, they are susceptible to contracting Covid-19 like anyone else.

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Bloggers and other websites have capitalised on the unfortunate happenings around the world to spread fake news by naming football stars that have not been infected by the virus to cause panic among fans and loved ones.

Game Yetu has compiled the latest list of popular stars who have been CONFIRMED to have the disease.

This story is developing and will be updated through the course of the coronavirus outbreak.

According to official numbers, there are currently 155,249 coronavirus cases in the world with 5,812 succumbing to the deadly virus. 74,262 have recovered from Covid-19.

NOTE – Juventus’ forward Paulo Dybala and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have NOT tested positive for coronavirus as has been reported by various media outlets.


Valencia – Ezequiel Garay (Sunday 15/03/2020)

FACTCHECK: Popular football stars who have contracted coronavirus
Valencia defender Ezequiel Garay. [Courtesy]

Valencia defender Ezequiel Garay tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday, becoming the first La Liga player to confirm he has the virus.

“It’s clear that I have got off to the wrong start in 2020. I’ve tested positive for the coronavirus, I feel very good and now I just have to listen to the health authorities and for now, remain isolated,” Garay wrote on his official Instagram account.

Garay was ruled out of the season after suffering a knee injury in February.

A statement from the Spanish club added that more cases at the club had been confirmed.

“Valencia CF confirm that five positive cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus have been detected from first-team players and staff.

“They are all in their homes in good health and with isolation measures.


Sampdoria’s Depaoli, two more Fiorentina players test positive for coronavirus (Saturday 14/03/2020)

FACTCHECK: Popular football stars who have contracted coronavirus
Wolves striker Patrick Cutrone, who is on loan at Fiorentina for the rest of the season, has Covid-19. [Courtesy]

Two more Fiorentina players and another at Sampdoria tested positive coronavirus, bringing the number of infected Serie A players to 10 on Saturday (14/03/2020).

Fiorentina’s Argentine international defender German Pezzella and on-loan forward Patrick Cutrone along with Sampdoria midfielder Fabio Depaoli are the latest to return positive tests for the virus.

Later on Saturday, Depaoli said on his Instagram account that he had also contracted the coronavirus.

“Unfortunately I tested positive for COVID-19. I want to reassure you that I’m fine,” the 22-year-old Depaoli wrote.


Sampdoria, Fiorentina players (Friday 13/03/2020)

FACTCHECK: Popular football stars who have contracted coronavirus
Sampdoria’s Morten Thorsby. [Courtesy]

Four more players at Sampdoria plus one from Fiorentina also tested positive for coronavirus on Friday, bringing the total number of infected players in Italy’s Serie A to seven.

Sampdoria said the players — Norwegian Morten Thorsby, Swede Albin Ekdal, Gambian Omar Colley and Italian Antonino La Gumina and team doctor Amedeo Baldari — were all doing well.

“They are all in good health and in their homes in Genoa,” said the club in a statement.

“Sampdoria reiterates that it has immediately applied all the procedures stipulated by the regulations: all club premises are closed, the team, managers and employees potentially involved are in voluntary home isolation,” it added.

“Everything will go well. Together we will make it. Stay at home.”

Fiorentina confirmed their Serbian striker Dusan Vlahovic had also tested positive.

“He is at home and currently does not have any symptoms,” said the Florence-based club.


Chelsea – Callum Hudson-Odoi (Friday 13/03/2020)

FACTCHECK: Popular football stars who have contracted coronavirus
Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi. [REUTERS/Eddie Keogh/File Photo]

Chelsea forward Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday.

Hudson-Odoi, who is the first Premier League player to test positive for the virus, later said in a video on Twitter that he was following health guidelines and remained in good spirits.

“Thank you for all your good wishes… I’m feeling good and hope to see you all soon,” he said.

Hudson-Odoi stayed away from the training ground with a club statement saying: “Chelsea personnel who had recent close contact with the player in the men’s team building will now self-isolate in line with Government health guidelines.

“These will include initially the full men’s team squad, coaching staff and a number of backroom staff.

“It is expected that those who did not have close contact with Callum will return to work in the coming days. In the meantime, the men’s team building, one of several separate buildings at our training ground, will remain closed.”


Arsenal – Mikel Arteta (Friday 13/03/2020)

FACTCHECK: Popular football stars who have contracted coronavirus
Premier League – Arsenal v Everton – Emirates Stadium, London, Britain – February 23, 2020 Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta reacts. [REUTERS/David Klein]

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday sending shockwaves among Arsenal fans and the world at large.

Consequently, the Arsenal Colney Training Centre was closed, with personnel who had had recent close contact with Arteta now in self-isolation.

“Arsenal personnel who had recent close contact with Mikel will now self-isolate in line with Government health guidelines. We expect this to be a significant number of people from Colney, including the full first-team squad and coaching staff,” Arsenal said in a statement.

Arteta said later on Friday he was feeling better after testing positive.

“Thanks for your words and support,” the Spaniard, 37, wrote on Twitter.

“We’re all facing a huge and unprecedented challenge.

“Everyone’s health is all that matters right now. Protect each other by following the guidelines,” he added.

“We’ll come through this together.”

Arsenal’s game at Manchester City on Wednesday was postponed as a number of their players had met Evangelos Marinakis, the owner of Greek club Olympiakos Piraeus, who contracted the virus.


Sampdoria’s – Manolo Gabbiadini (Thursday 12/03/2020) 

FACTCHECK: Popular football stars who have contracted coronavirus
Sampdoria’s Manolo Gabbiadini tested positive on Thursday. [Courtesy]

Sampdoria’s Manolo Gabbiadini became the second Serie A player to test positive for the coronavirus on Thursday.

Verona, the last club that Sampdoria faced, said in a statement that they were “ceasing all activity” in light of Gabbiadni’s positive test for coronavirus.

“He’s got a bit of a fever, but he’s fine. The club is currently activating all the isolation procedures required by law,” the Genoa-based club said in a statement.

All Serie A matches have been suspended until April 3 due to the pandemic.


Juventus – Daniele Rugani (Wednesday 11/03/2020)

FACTCHECK: Popular football stars who have contracted coronavirus
Juventus defender Daniele Rugani. [Courtesy]

Juventus defender Daniele Rugani became the first Serie A player to test positive for Covid-19.

Juventus said in a statement that the 26-year-old Italy international, who played in matches against Brescia and SPAL in February had not shown any symptoms of the virus.

The Turin side are one of Europe’s biggest clubs with a squad that includes five-time world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo, who is currently in Madeira, Portugal.

“The footballer, Daniele Rugani, has tested positive for Coronavirus-COVID-19 and is currently asymptomatic.

“Juventus Football Club is currently activating all the isolation procedures required by law, including those who have had contact with him,” Juve said in a statement.

Four players at third-tier (Italy) Pianese had previously tested positive for the virus.

Rugani said he was fine on Thursday, shortly after his club said he had tested positive.

“You’ve read the news, so I want to reassure everyone 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 those around us,” Rugani said on Twitter.

Rugani joined Juventus from Empoli in 2013 although he then returned to Empoli on loan. He has been at Juve since 2015.

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo sent a message of support Rugani, the sick and to the ‘amazing’ health professionals dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.

“I would like to send my thoughts to everyone who has lost someone close to them, my solidarity to those who are fighting the virus, like my team-mate Daniele Rugani, and my continued support to the amazing health professionals putting their own lives at risk to save others,” Ronaldo posted on Social media.


Olympiakos, Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis (Tuesday 10/03/2020)

FACTCHECK: Popular football stars who have contracted coronavirus
Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis. [Courtesy]

The owner of Greece’s most successful soccer club Olympiakos and English Championship side Nottingham Forest said on Tuesday he had contracted Covid-19.

The 52-year-old Greek businessman said he was well and receiving treatment.

“The recent virus has “visited” me and I felt obliged to let the public know,” he said in a social media post. “I feel good as I take all the necessary measures and the doctors’ instructions.

“I strongly advise all my fellow citizens to do the same. I wish all a quick recovery.”

He was the first popular football stakeholder to contract the virus.


World Health Organization (WHO)

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.

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