Cristiano Ronaldo, COVID, coronavirus, positive test, football news, Juventus, Portugal, UEFA Nations League, team photo


Cristiano Ronaldo has tested positive for coronavirus, the Portuguese football federation announced on Wednesday (AEDT).

Ronaldo “is asymptomatic” and “will not play against Sweden” in Thursday’s Nations League match, the federation said on its website.

The 35-year-old Juventus forward, who has been voted the world’s top player five times, played in Portugal’s goalless Nations League draw against France on Sunday.

The federation added that the rest of the Portugal squad were “all negative” after tests on Wednesday morning, as was the France squad, according to the French Football Federation.

The test result re-opens the controversy over his departure from Juventus’ home in Turin for the Portugal training camp, which was, according to local health authorities in Italy’s Piedmont region, a violation of the virus protocol.

Ronaldo and other Juventus stars left to join up with their national teams despite the team being in isolation after two staff members tested positive for the virus.

Roberto Testi, a director of the regional health authority, said that local prosecutors had been informed of the players’ unauthorised departure.

An image the superstar shared on social media yesterday is also raising eyebrows.

Associated Press football correspondent Rob Harris tweeted “not much social distancing at the Portugal team meal yesterday”, while others have encouraged Ronaldo to delete the photograph.

RONALDO SET TO MISS KEY MATCHES

Ronaldo has scored 101 goals for Portugal and will be a huge absence for his team against Sweden as they aim to hold on to top spot in their group.

His contracting the disease is also a big blow for Juventus, as the health protocol in force for Serie A says that Ronaldo must self-isolate for 10 days and then record a negative test before he can resume playing.

That means Ronaldo will miss Juve’s Serie A match at Crotone on Saturday and the Italian champions’ opening Champions League group stage game at Dynamo Kiev in a week’s time.

The test result also means Ronaldo is in doubt for Juventus’ Champions League group match with Barcelona on October 28, which was set to pit Ronaldo against his old rival Lionel Messi.

The news sent shockwaves through world football.

“Wish Cristiano all the best for a speedy recovery,” tweeted Piers Morgan.

Ex-England international Gary Lineker wrote: “I’m sure he’ll see it off as comfortably as he does defenders.”

COVID WREAKS HAVOC IN INTERNATIONALS

Ronaldo, who has also starred for Manchester United and Real Madrid, is the highest-profile footballer to test positive for COVID-19, which has killed over a million people since the start of the pandemic earlier this year.

Brazil forward Neymar, his Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappe and AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic have also tested positive for the virus in recent weeks.

Premier League champions Liverpool placed Senegalese forward Sadio Mane and Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara in isolation after they tested positive last week.

Last week two of Ronaldo’s Portugal teammates — goalkeeper Anthony Lopes and defender Jose Fonte — also returned positive tests, forcing them out of the Nations League fixtures.

The international break has been marked by a host of players contracting the virus as it continues its spread worldwide.

The Republic of Ireland had five players ruled out just before their Nations League draw with Wales after one squad member tested positive for the virus.

Meanwhile Ukraine had to draft in 45-year-old assistant coach Oleksandr Shovkovsky for last week’s friendly with France as the virus swept through the squad.

Ukraine also lost to Germany on Saturday in the Nations League with 14 players missing either through injury or positive for the virus.

– with AFP



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Czech Republic v Scotland in Nations League goes ahead, says Uefa


Czech Republic won 3-1 in Slovakia on Friday after delaying their trip to Bratislava

Uefa says Scotland’s Nations League match in the Czech Republic on Monday will go ahead as planned.

The Czech FA had announced that it was off after a Covid-19 outbreak among the home squad.

Scotland are due to travel to Olomouc on Sunday, having opened the new campaign with a 1-1 draw at home to Israel on Friday.

More to follow.



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UEFA Football: Christian Santos goal a contender for best of season


The glory days at Deportivo la Coruna at the turn of the century might be a distant memory, but they’ve proved they’re still capable of the odd golazo despite now plying their trade in Spain’s second division.

The 2000 La Liga champions sit way down in 15th in the Segunda Division but pulled off a 2-1 upset of second-ranked Huerta thanks to a world-class goal by Venezuelan striker Christian Santos.

After falling behind 1-0 early in the match, Santos sent an assist to Ager Aketxe to tie it up. In the 43rd minute he was the beneficiary of a sensational team effort that began deep in defence.

You can watch the goal in the video player above, which features a sublime backheel to free up the crossing opportunity — and a remarkable bicycle kick finish from Santos.



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Australia 2023 FIFA World Cup host hopes hurt by UEFA backing Colombia


This is starting to feel like the Socceroos v Iran in 1997 all over again.

Australia’s joint bid with New Zealand to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup looked home and hosed after Japan pulled out this week leaving Colombia as our only competition.

FIFA’s technical evaluation of both bids made it a one-sided contest with our superior score of 4.1 to Colombia’s 2.8 surely enough to convince voters to do the right thing.

But as we found out in 1998 World Cup qualification at the MCG a 2-0 lead is the most dangerous score in football — and as we found out while bidding for the men’s 2022 World Cup, never trust FIFA. Never.

Which bring us to a report from The Guardian today which claims UEFA, the powerful ruling body of European football, is encouraging its members to back the South Americans.

The Guardian reports UEFA has rubbished the technical reports in a recent meeting and argued the Women’s World Cup is a “development tournament” and should go to a country with a poor track record in women’s football that could leverage hosting rights as a catalyst for change. UEFA has nine of the 35 votes in tonight’s election, which is being done by video conference.

There’s still hope though.

UEFA traditionally sides with fellow world football power CONMEBOL (South America), so the Aussies and Kiwis wouldn’t have been banking on getting much support from them in the first place.

With Asia and Oceania (nine combined votes) certain to side with a trans-Tasman tournament, the key blocs will be Africa (seven votes) and North America (five votes).

Japan, whose bid had received the second highest score of 3.9, followed Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and a joint Korean bid in falling by the wayside as the Asian nation focused all its energy on the postponed Olympics.

FIFA’s evaluation report gave Colombia a score of just 2.8 out of five as it raised doubts about the ability to provide investment required to carry out “necessary improvements”.

In contrast, the Australia/New Zealand bid “provides a variety of very good options in terms of sporting and general infrastructure. It would also appear to present the most commercially favourable proposition”.

The joint proposal would see games played in 13 venues across 12 cities, with the opening match at Eden Park in Auckland and the final in Sydney. Seven cities in Australia would host games, and five in New Zealand.

“When you look at our bid, we think it ticks a lot of the boxes,” Football Federation Australia chairman Chris Nikou told AFP in an interview this week.

Colombia plans to use 10 venues with the opening match and final in Bogota. All are existing stadiums, but one — in Cucuta in the north of the country by the Venezuelan border — requires “significant renovation work”.

The FIFA report also highlighted security worries. “Although there has been a significant reduction in domestic terrorism, some concerns remain in terms of the potential impact of crime on tournament stakeholders,” the FIFA report states.

The 2023 tournament is set to be the first 32-team women’s World Cup, up from the 24 nations who competed at last year’s finals in France, won by the United States.

— with AFP



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How Manchester City plan to fight their UEFA ban


They also ensure that sponsorship deals are based on their real market value and are genuine commercial agreements and not ways for owners to pump cash into a club to get around the rules.

UEFA opened an investigation into City last March after the publication of ‘Football Leaks’ documents led to allegations the club’s Abu Dhabi owners had inflated sponsorship agreements to comply with the FFP requirements.

The leaked documents included club emails which allegedly referred to money being “routed” through sponsors.

However, City are unhappy at the way in which UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) conducted the investigation.

“The allegations are not true. They are simply not true,” City CEO Ferran Soriano said in a statement in February.

“We provided the evidence but in the end this FFP Investigatory Chamber relied more on out-of-context stolen emails than all the other evidence we provided of what actually happened and I think it is normal that we feel like we feel.

“Ultimately, based on our experience and our perception, this seems to be less about justice and more about politics.”

The Abu Dhabi United Group, the investment vehicle owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is the majority owner of the City Football Group, with a stake of around 77 per cent.

Reuters



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