Football fans in Lisbon were unsurprised after Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo tested positive COVID-19, saying it simply showed everyone was at risk of getting infected – and famous athletes were no exception.
Portugal’s Football Federation said in a statement on Tuesday the 35-year-old Juventus forward was asymptomatic and would miss Wednesday’s UEFA Nations League game against Sweden as he self-isolates.
In Portugal’s capital Lisbon, not too far from the football facility where Ronaldo is, fans were not shocked by the news.
“We are all human beings,” said Antonio Rodrigues while standing outside a food market in one of Lisbon’s neighbourhoods. “It is not because he is Ronaldo that the dynamic of the situation is different.”
Walking with a portable oxygen concentrator, 74-year-old Fernando Marques shared the same view: “Ronaldo is no more than the others – he is a good player, with a lot of money, but we are all the same.”
Ronaldo appeared in his side’s 0-0 draw away to France in the Nations League on Sunday and last week’s goalless draw in a friendly at home to Spain.
Fans also said not being at the match against Sweden was a good opportunity for Portugal’s squad to get used to playing without the five-times world player of the year.
“The others have to try to win and play well without him,” said Antonio Aleixo, 45. “Sooner or later he will also stop playing.”
On Tuesday evening, Portugal’s head coach Fernando Santos said “no team can be better without the best player in the world but this team has already demonstrated that collectively it has the capacity to tackle the situation”.
Portuguese SIC Television said Ronaldo would travel to the Italian city of Turin, where he lives, on Wednesday afternoon to quarantine there.