Italy’s sports minister says Cristiano Ronaldo broke health protocols when he flew from Portugal back to Turin after testing positive for coronavirus.
The football superstar tested positive for COVID-19 while in camp with the Portugal squad on Tuesday, missing his side’s clash with Sweden as a result.
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However Ronaldo then flew back to Italy to continue his quarantine at home in Turin, travelling on an ambulance jet.
But according to the country’s sports minister, that was a breach of protocol.
Vincenzo Spadafora was asked during a radio interview if Ronaldo might have broken health rules, replying: “Yes, I think so, if there hadn’t been any specific authorisation from the health authority, he violated protocol.”
However Juventus president Andrea Agnelli insisted no rules had been broken, saying Ronaldo had been granted permission to fly home.
“You must call the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Interior and have them explain what has been violated,” Agnelli said during a news conference.
Juventus said on Wednesday that Ronaldo had returned on a medical flight “authorised by the competent health authorities”.
Portugal’s Director General of Health said Ronaldo was treated like everyone else with COVID-19, adding that he had to sign a form promising to self-isolate before being allowed out of the country.
“Their transport in conditions of security is entirely the responsibility of patients who have been diagnosed with coronavirus and want to return to the country they officially reside in,” said Graca Freitas.
“Once they’ve arranged that transport they’re submitted to an evaluation by health authorities and they are asked to sign a declaration in which they assume responsibility regarding the period of self-isolation they have to abide by.
“That was what happened in the case of Cristiano Ronaldo.”
Local media captured Ronaldo landing in Turin on the private jet, before being transported away in an ambulance.
Ronaldo played a friendly against Spain and a Nations League match against France before he tested positive and was forced to miss the 3-0 win over Sweden on Wednesday.
Valentino Rossi the latest athlete with COVID-19
Meanwhile, nine-times world champion Valentino Rossi has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss this weekend’s MotoGP Aragon Grand Prix.
The coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on world sport, with Rossi joining Ronaldo, tennis players Fabio Fognini and Sam Querrey, and World No.1 golfer Dustin Johnson in testing positive in recent days.
The news also came on a day when there were more question marks over whether the Giro d'Italia, one of the world’s great cycle races, should be called off as another leading team declared that the tour should be ended a week early.
It was also announced on Thursday that European soccer clubs could lose an estimated 5.2 to 6.3 billion euros ($6.1-7.4 billion) in revenues due to the impact of the pandemic, while in American Football, the Atlanta Falcons shut down their facility following one new positive test for COVID-19.
Rossi becomes the first MotoGP rider to contract the illness.
“Unfortunately this morning I woke up and I was not feeling good,” he tweeted.
“My bones were sore and I had a slight fever, so I immediately called the doctor who tested me twice.
“The 'quick PCR test' result was negative, just like the test I underwent on Tuesday but the second one, of which the result was sent to me at 4pm this afternoon, was unfortunately positive. I am so disappointed that I will have to miss the race at Aragon.
“I am sad and angry because I did my best to respect the protocol, and although the test I had on Tuesday was negative, I self-isolated since my arrival from Le Mans (following the French Grand Prix at the weekend).”
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