“United on and off the pitch,” said the legend.
Ronaldo’s positive test confirmed the worst fears of some European clubs, who had fought with FIFA, the world’s footballing governing body, of changing rules that require them to release players to represent their national teams at the scheduled international breaks. Many clubs feared that sending their players on long journeys to virus hotspots – particularly in South America, where qualifying for the 2022 World Cup began last week – could leave them vulnerable to the virus. infection or get them to bring the virus back to their European teams.
Players who have traveled now will face quarantines or other restrictions – and may even miss league games – upon their return to certain countries, including the United States.
Ronaldo, who plays for Italian club Juventus, had been spared the infection earlier this year when the virus swept through his team and the Italian league system. At least three Juventus players – Paulo Dybala, Daniele Rugani and Blaise Matuidi – tested positive in the first wave of cases earlier this year.
Ronaldo is not the first football star to test positive this fall as Europe’s top leagues enter their new season and players return home to be part of the national team. Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba tested positive when he showed up to a training camp with the France national team in August, weeks after Brazilian star Neymar and two of his teammates from French club Paris Saint-Germain have reportedly caught the virus during a post-season holiday in Spain.