Italy’s minister of sport, Vincenzo Spadafora, has suggested Cristiano Ronaldo may have broken Covid-19 rules by returning to Italy in a ‘private air ambulance’ following his positive test.
The self-isolating Juventus star returned to Turin on Wednesday, a day after he tested positive for coronavirus at Portugal’s team complex in Oeiras, Lisbon.
“Without authorization from the health authorities, I think he has violated the protocol,” said Spadafora when asked on Rai Radio whether rules had been breached.
Juve insisted his return had been cleared, writing in a statement: “Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Italy with a medical flight authorized by the relevant health authorities at the request of the player and will continue his isolation at his home.”
Ronaldo left Portugal on Wednesday afternoon in a Bombardier Learjet 45XR LX-ONE operated by Luxembourg Air Rescue, who repatriate people who have fallen ill or suffered injury abroad.
Portugal’s director general of health Grace Freitas said the footballer had not breached rules in doing so.
“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.
“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.”
Ronaldo took off at 1:45 p.m. local time, and he was back home to watch Portugal beat Sweden 3-0 in the UEFA Nations League on television.
É como se estivesse aí! Vamos Malta! Força Portugal 💪🏼🇵🇹 #todosportugal
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner – who is asymptomatic – began self-isolating on Tuesday after the positive test, and watched the team train from the balcony of his room that afternoon.
Despite losing their record goalscorer and appearance-maker, Portugal secured a comfortable win over Sweden courtesy of a goal from Bernardo Silva and a brace from Diogo Jota.
Juventus will be without Ronaldo for at least two matches – Saturday’s trip to Crotone and Tuesday’s visit to Dynamo Kyiv – but the Bianconeri will hope to have him back for their crunch UEFA Champions League clash with Barcelona on October 28.