Letters to the Editor • Opinion
The coronavirus might not be the worst of it
The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo tests positive for coronavirus

Cristiano Ronaldo has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)

Portugal’s soccer federation announced Tuesday that superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Ronaldo is not experiencing symptoms and has left the team to isolate, and no other Portuguese players have tested positive, the federation announced.

Ronaldo was with Portugal’s national team for group-stage play in the UEFA Nations League and was in the team’s starting lineup for Sunday’s scoreless draw with host France. Portugal is scheduled to host Sweden on Wednesday.

On Monday, Ronaldo posted a photo on Instagram of the team gathered at what appears to be a restaurant. None of the players were wearing face coverings or spacing themselves apart.

“United on and off the field!” Ronaldo wrote in the Instagram caption.

Under coronavirus protocols established by European soccer’s governing body, all players, officials and venue staff are tested ahead of every match. Matches may move forward so long as local authorities do not require a large group of players or the entire team to go into isolation.

Many European countries have seen a surge in positive coronavirus tests in recent weeks, leading them to consider and in some cases implement new restrictions on gatherings. French authorities on Saturday reported a record 27,000 new cases in the previous 24 hours. On Monday, health officials there said the number of people hospitalized for covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, had surpassed 8,600 for the first time since late June.

Second wave of covid-19 in Europe leads to new restrictions but no national lockdowns

Nevertheless, the affected countries are doing everything they can to avoid the lockdowns seen earlier this year, citing pressure from the public to avoid them.

Europe’s top professional leagues have all begun their seasons. In Italy, where Ronaldo plays for powerhouse Juventus, one game already has been postponed after Genoa had 16 positive cases ahead of a match with Torino this month. A few days later, Juventus showed up for a home match against Napoli to find that its opponent had not traveled for the game because local authorities would not allow it to do so after positive tests. This led to confusion over whether Napoli would be forced to forfeit the game or if it would be rescheduled.

“Nobody has thanked us for preventing Cristiano Ronaldo from getting the virus,” Vincenzo De Luca, one of the politicians who forbid Napoli to travel, said on Facebook after Juventus President Andrea Agnelli complained the game should be considered a forfeit in his team’s favor.

“If Ronaldo had got the virus a week later, we would have hit the front pages even of the New York Times,” De Luca added.

Juventus is scheduled to face Crotone in Serie A play on Saturday and then is scheduled to travel to Dynamo Kyiv for its Champions League group-stage opener Tuesday.

Read more about soccer:

When extremist soccer ‘ultras’ aligned with Israel’s right-wing government, mayhem followed

There is a proven winner D.C. United should consider for its coaching job: Jill Ellis

USL suspends player for a gay slur that caused opponents to walk off