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

In this file photo taken on October 11, 2020 Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo jumps during the Nations League football match between France and Portugal, on October 11, 2020 at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, outside Paris. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

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

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‘You are not Zlatan, don’t challenge the virus,’ Ibrahimovic tells public

AC Milan’s Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (R) reacts during the UEFA Europa League Group H football match between AC Milan and Sparta Praha at The San Siro Stadium in Milan on October 29, 2020. (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP)

MILAN—AC Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, recently recovered from a COVID-19 infection, has joined an information campaign, telling the public in his irreverent style to respect social distancing and wear a mask.

“The virus challenged me and I won,” he said. “But you are not Zlatan, don’t challenge the virus.

“Use your head, respect the rules: distance and mask, always. We’ll win!”

The video was posted on the website and social media accounts of the Lombardy region which has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Despite missing two games after testing positive, the 39-year-old Swede is Serie A’s leading scorer with six goals.

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The two-week season: COVID-19 shrinks PFL

In a year of coronavirus chaos for sports, the Philippines Football League has come up with an extreme solution: shortening the competition to just two weeks, with each team playing only once.

The league, postponed since March, kicked off behind closed doors on Wednesday in a bio-secure “bubble” at the National Training Center, 40km (25 miles) south of the capital Manila.

United City were 1-0 winners against the Azkals Development Team, and Kaya FC Iloilo beat Maharlika Manila by the same scoreline as the league, delayed anew by a batch of positive tests and an incoming typhoon, finally got underway.

The unusual format of the competition, broadcast on social media and finishing on November 12, means the six teams have just one chance for a shot at the title, turning every game into a de facto final.

National team manager Dan Palami said the streamlining is down to financial reasons with all officials, staff and players staying in hotels and then transported to games.

“It entails a lot of logistical work and financial requirements that the PFL, at this point in time, cannot meet,” Palami told AFP.

Under normal conditions, each team would play the others four times but the effects of COVID-19 have made that impossible. The Philippines has been hit hard by the virus, with more than 375,000 confirmed infections and over 7,000 deaths.

“There is little money coming in but costs have sky-rocketed,” Palami said.

“All teams are in one hotel, swab tests are being done regularly and there are the usual expenses that are not usually covered by the PFL that now it has to cover.”

Despite the unusual format, the PFL asked teams and sponsors whether they wanted to go ahead with the shortened season and the answer was a resounding ‘yes.’

“Everybody wants to

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