Ronaldo COVID-free after 19 days but virus hits other Serie A teams

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo warms up prior to the Italian Serie A football match Roma vs Juventus at the Olympic stadium in Rome on Sept. 27, 2020. (File/AFP)
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Updated 31 October 2020

Ronaldo COVID-free after 19 days but virus hits other Serie A teams

  • Ronaldo first tested positive for COVID-19 on October 13 while playing with Portugal
  • Juventus next play at promoted Spezia on Sunday

MILAN, Italy: Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo has tested negative for coronavirus after nearly three weeks but Serie A clubs Atalanta, Sassuolo, Crotone and Parma on Friday revealed new cases.
Ronaldo first tested positive for COVID-19 on October 13 while playing with Portugal.
“Ronaldo carried out a check with a diagnostic test (swab) for COVID-19 . The exam provided a negative result,” the Italian champions said in a statement.
“The player has, therefore, recovered after 19 days and is no longer subjected to home isolation.”
Juventus next play at promoted Spezia on Sunday, with all matches now behind closed doors.
Serie A leaders AC Milan also announced that defender Matteo Gabbia, goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and striker Jens Petter Hauge have all tested negative.
Donnarumma and Hauge “are authorized to return to training” before unbeaten Milan travel to Udinese on Sunday, with Gabbia “undergoing medical screening” on Saturday.
A record number of over 31,000 people on Friday tested positive for COVID-19 in a 24-hour period in Italy.
The 35-year-old Ronaldo had missed four games including Wednesday’s 2-0 Champions League defeat to Lionel Messi’s Barcelona, and Juventus’s 2-0 win at Dynamo Kiev in their Group G opener.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s return will be a boost for Andrea Pirlo’s faltering side who are fifth in Serie A, four points behind leaders AC Milan.
Ronaldo scored three goals in Juventus’s first two league games — a 3-0 win over Sampdoria and both goals in a 2-2 draw at AS Roma.
But the nine-time reigning champions have been held to three consecutive league draws, Roma (2-2), Crotone (1-1) and Verona (1-1).
They were awarded a 3-0 victory after Napoli refused to travel to Turin on October 4 because of coronavirus cases.
Ronaldo was furious at missing out on this week’s reunion with Messi, after reportedly testing positive for an 18th time.
They have not faced off since the five-time Ballon d’Or winner left Real Madrid for Juventus in 2018.
Ronaldo had caused controversy even before testing positive by traveling to Portugal while Juventus were in isolation after two virus cases.
On his return to Italy on October 14, the day after testing positive, Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora accused the star of “violating” Italian coronavirus measures.
Other Juventus players including Blaise Matuidi and Paulo Dybala, tested positive during the first wave of the pandemic earlier this year, the Argentine only testing negative after 45 days.
But as Ronaldo recovered, other cases were announced in the Italian league.
In Bergamo, Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini’s pre-match press conference Friday before this weekend’s game at Crotone was canceled after a positive case among the coaching staff.
Crotone also confirmed that their midfielder Salvatore Molina had ‘slight symptoms’ and was isolating at home.
Sassuolo, who travel to Napoli, have three new cases, one a player, while Parma who play at Inter Milan, revealed two players had become infected for a second time.
Lazio are awaiting tests results after players including star striker Ciro Immobile and Luis Alberto missed their Champions League draw at Club Brugge as a precautionary measure.
Coach Simone Inzaghi’s press conference before Sunday’s game against Torino has been canceled with half the squad reported to be self-isolating.
The Rome club are scheduled to travel to Torino on Sunday before hosting Juventus the following weekend.
Serie A are applying UEFA rules whereby a match can take place as long as a side have 13 healthy players, including a goalkeeper.
The only possible exemption would be a club which has an active outbreak of Covid-19 with more than 10 new positive cases in a week.
In that case the club can request a postponement, but only once in the season, which was the case of Genoa’s game against against Torino earlier this month.
That match has been rescheduled for next Wednesday.

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European Ryder Cup stars take aim on 2021 Saudi International

Updated 27 November 2020

European Ryder Cup stars take aim on 2021 Saudi International

  • The February tourney looks set to be one of the strongest events on European Tour schedule

JEDDAH: European Ryder Cup stars Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia, Tyrrell Hatton, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood join defending champion Graeme McDowell in looking to get their campaign to qualify for the 2021 European Ryder Cup team off to the strongest possible start at the Saudi International.

The tournament, powered by Softbank Investment Advisers, will take place  Feb. 4 -7 at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City.

With world No. 1 and 2020 Masters champion Dustin Johnson and 2020 US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau confirmed for the event, along with reigning Open champion Shane Lowry and US stars Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed, the strength of the field means huge ranking points will be on offer for Europe’s leading golfers as they look to get their 2021 qualifying efforts off to a fast start and secure a coveted place on the 2021 European Ryder Cup team.

With a lineup that looks set to ensure that the Saudi International will be one of the strongest events on the 2021 European Tour schedule, Golf Saudi is looking to build on the momentum resulting from hosting two extremely successful Ladies European Tour events this month as interest and participation in golf continues to grow in the Kingdom.

Fleetwood, a six-time winner on the European Tour and standout player in Europe’s Ryder Cup victory in Paris in 2018, is making his debut this year in the Saudi International. He said: “From all I’ve heard from the lads who played there the last couple of years, the Saudi International has established itself as one of the leading events on the European Tour both in terms of set up and facilities as well as quality of the field, which is really impressive this year.”

Poulter, who played for the first time in the 2020 edition, said: “I really enjoyed the tournament at the beginning of this year and am psyched to be returning next February. The course sets up for my game rather nicely so I was pretty frustrated to only finish in the top 20 and will certainly be aiming to finish rather higher up the leaderboard this year!

“It’s a fantastic championship course with some amazing vistas and I also really like the fact we get to play a part in introducing golf to a whole new audience in a new region. With Ryder Cup qualification on the line, I am obviously looking to get my campaign off to a fast start and getting a decent finish or winning the Saudi International against such a stellar field would be massive.

“It’s been a really weird year with the pandemic so we are all looking forward to a fresh start in 2021 and I am hoping it is also a strong start as I keep my eyes firmly focused on qualifying for the European team at Whistling Straits,” he added.

Majed Al-Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi, said: “This announcement marks yet another amazing group of golf stars joining our 2021 field and the excitement of all the players to kick off afresh in 2021, in Saudi Arabia, is heartening to hear.

“The lineup for the tournament is looking strong and with more players still to be announced in the coming weeks — and on the back of two excellent Ladies European Tour events earlier this month — we are very much looking forward to the third edition of our tournament. We believe it will be the strongest installment to date and will serve as a fabulous illustration that Saudi Arabia is open for business.”