Story By: Juan Mayes, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Golder’s News And Sport
Real Madrid basketball players have been made to travel to northern Italy to play a match despite expressing their fears of contracting the coronavirus.
Real Madrid basketball players voiced their frustrations on social media over their trip to the city of Milan located in the Lombardy region of northern Italy where there have been many reported cases of the coronavirus, officially named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization.
The club travelled there for their upcoming Euroleague match against Olimpia Milano set to be played today (Tuesday) behind closed doors.
Madrid centre Walter ‘Edy’ Tavares said: “I think the priority is not the match but our health and that of our families. We cannot play everything we have left in one match.
American power forward Trey Thompkins said: “Why can’t we just play on a neutral site..? This virus is serious.. so let’s treat it like it is please..” (sic)
Spanish international Rudy Fernandez even joked: “First thing is first, then comes the health of the players and their families.”
Madrid point guard Facundo Campazzo spoke with local media and said: “My wife preferred I did not travel to Milan” but added that “we trust in the club and in the Euroleague.
“If we are playing then it is because nothing is going to happen. The decision was taken to not play in front of a crowd and it is the right one for us and our families to remain at ease.
“It is normal to have all this going through your head, but the match is going to be played behind closed doors and that is it. I am more worried about the match.”
The reports come after Spanish sports journalist Kike Mateu, 44, was confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19 after he travelled along with a reported 2,400 Valencia fans to the Lombardy region to watch their side’s 4-1 loss to Atalanta on 19th February in the San Siro in Milan.
The two basketball clubs are facing off today (Tuesday) as Milano are fighting to enter the playoff positions while Real Madrid are second in the Euroleague with three games behind the Euroleague leaders, Turkish side Anadolu Efes SK.
Italy has had a reported 2,036 cases of COVID-19, causing the deaths of 52 people. There are reportedly 92,165 worldwide cases which have lead to 3,127 deaths.
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