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Massive COVID outbreak in world soccer

Last updated on: December 30, 2021 00:25 IST
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Real Madrid quartet test positive for COVID-19


IMAGE: Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has tested positive for COVID-19. Photograph: Javier Barbancho/Reuters

Real Madrid's Thibaut Courtois, Federico Valverde, Eduardo Camavinga and Vinicius Jr have tested positive for COVID-19, the club said in a statement on Wednesday.

LaLiga has been on a short winter break since Real's last match on December 22 and the pacesetters are back in action on January 2 when they travel to Getafe in LaLiga.

Carlo Ancelotti's side have 46 points from 19 games - eight points ahead of second-placed Sevilla who have a match in hand.

Several Real players tested positive for coronavirus earlier this month including Luka Modric, Rodrygo, Marco Asensio, Gareth Bale, Marcelo, Andriy Lunin, Isco and David Alaba.

Rivals Barcelona are also dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak in their squad with Ousmane Dembele, Samuel Umtiti and Gavi set to miss Sunday's trip to Real Mallorca.

Clement Lenglet, Dani Alves, Jordi Alba and Alejandro Balde also returned positive COVID tests this week.

Sevilla have three positives in their squad but said they were asymptomatic and isolating at home. Two players had already tested positive during the Christmas holidays, the club added.

Arsenal boss Arteta to miss City game after COVID positive test

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta will sit out Saturday's Premier League game at home to Manchester City after testing positive for COVID-19, the club said on Wednesday.

Arsenal are fourth in the table on 35 points after 19 games, 12 points behind leaders City.

"Mikel is isolating in line with Government guidelines and we wish him well," Arsenal said in a statement.

Arteta previously tested positive in March 2020, shortly before the pandemic forced the Premier League to shut down for more than three months.

The 39-year-old is also the latest Premier League manager to test positive after Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira nL1N2TB04Q and Aston Villa's Steven Gerrard nL1N2TA06A.

A record 103 positive COVID-19 cases were found among players and staff in the Premier League over the past week following a raft of fixture postponements during the busy festive period.

Britain reported a record 129,471 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday as it battles a surge in infections fuelled by the Omicron variant.

Barca trio test positive for COVID-19

Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele, Samuel Umtiti and Gavi are set to miss Sunday's trip to Real Mallorca after testing positive for COVID-19, the LaLiga club said on Wednesday.

The Catalans have been hit by a number of cases in their squad, with Clement Lenglet, Dani Alves, Jordi Alba and Alejandro Balde also returning positive tests this week.

"Dembele, Umtiti and Gavi are positive for COVID-19 after PCR tests on the squad. The players are in good health and self-isolating at home. The club has reported the cases to the relevant authorities," Barcelona said in a statement.

Barca, who last played in the league in a 1-1 draw against Sevilla on Dec. 21, are seventh on 28 points from 18 games.

Mikel Arteta

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