Cristiano Ronaldo has fired back at the Italian sports minister’s accusation that he violated COVID-19 protocols after he returned to the country after testing positive for the virus on international duty.
It was revealed this week that the Portuguese star had tested positive for the illness in advance of his country’s match with Sweden on Wednesday and is currently quarantined in Turin after leaving the Portuguese camp by private air ambulance.
Italian Minister of Sport Vincenzo Spadafora said on Thursday that he thought that Ronaldo may have violated protocol by leaving Italy to join Portugal’s Nations League squad while Juventus were in isolation after two members of the non-playing staff tested positive.
“The fame and greatness of certain footballers doesn’t allow them to be arrogant, disrespectful towards our institutions and to lie,” Spadafora said to Italy’s ANSA news agency.
“I reiterate what I said yesterday regarding some Juventus players abandoning their team hotel, comments which I based on Juventus’ own communications with health authorities in Turin.”
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However, Ronaldo – who is understood to be asymptomatic – rejected Spadafora’s accusations.
“I never broke the protocol,” Ronaldo said on Instagram.
“Someone, whose name I’m won’t say, here in Italy … says that I didn’t respect the protocol, that is simply a lie.
“I am continuing my quarantine, I am alone, my family is on another floor, we can’t be in contact and it will be like that at least for the next 10 days.”
Local health authorities in the Piedmont region stated that prosecutors had indeed been made aware of the departure of Ronaldo and other Juve players.
Ronaldo’s Juventus teammates are also undergoing periods of isolation following on-loan United States midfielder Weston McKinnie’s positive test. Both he and Ronaldo must provide negative coronavirus tests before being permitted to rejoin the squad.
Ronaldo must submit a negative test on or before October 21 if he is to have a chance to resume his rivalry with old foe Lionel Messi ahead of Barcelona’s UEFA Champions League tie with Juventus.