Cristiano Ronaldo looks set to miss Juventus’ UEFA Champions League showdown with Barcelona next week after reportedly returning a second positive test for Covid-19.
Portuguese outlet Correio de Manha reported the 35-year-old still tested positive for the virus on Thursday, so is set to be in self-isolation when Barca visit the Allianz Stadium in Turin next Wednesday.
Ronaldo initially tested positive on October 13 whilst on international duty with Portugal, after which he took a private air ambulance back to Italy to isolate at home for at least 10 days.
According to UEFA’s ‘Return to Play’ protocols, “it is currently recognized that those who have recovered from Covid-19 may still be at risk of delivering positive PCR test results, despite having no contagion risk nor virus symptoms.”
In such cases, those who have previously tested positive can provide “verified confirmation that they have now recovered from the virus” to the UEFA Protocol Advisory Panel (UPAP) so they can make a recommendation on whether the player is eligible to feature, but it must be done at least one week in advance of their team’s next UEFA match.
As such, Ronaldo may have just missed the window to provide that documentation.
Juventus struggled without the forward last weekend as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Crotone, but they managed to bounce back from that with a 2-0 victory over Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League on Tuesday.
They’ll play Hellas Verona on Saturday before hosting Barcelona and Ronaldo’s longtime rival Lionel Messi in midweek.
Barca opened their Champions League campaign with a 5-1 win over Ferencvaros, although they’ll be without Gerard Pique after he was sent off in the match.
Ronaldo and Messi are the two highest-scoring players in the competition’s history, with 130 and 116 goals respectively.
Messi has scored three times in the five head-to-head meetings they’ve had in the Champions League. Ronaldo hasn’t found the net in any of them, although they last played one another on the European stage in 2011.