Only two days after their captain Sergio Busquests tested positive for coronavirus, Spain were handed yet another major blow, as defender Diego Llorente became the second player from their camp to test positive for the virus.
Leeds United player has subsequently left the camp, while the other members are currently in isolation. It has not been clarified whether Llorente and Busquets will be involved with the team at any part of the upcoming UEFA European Championship 2020.
Spain were scheduled to play a friendly match against Lithuania on Tuesday. With all of the senior team’s members under isolation, the Spanish football governing body (RFEF) had to call up six senior players and eleven under-21 players for a separate training camp.
“The RFEF regrets to announce that the central defender Diego Llorente has tested positive in the last PCR tests carried out this morning at the concentration of the national team in Las Rozas,”RFEF said in a statement, as quoted by The Athletic.
Their statement further went on to say:
“The footballer will leave tonight the concentration of the national team in a medical vehicle, following all the established health protocols. The concentration of the National Team will continue with all the work routines established in COVID-19 situations. For their part, the training sessions in Las Rozas for the players in the parallel bubble will continue this Wednesday at 11:00 am under the command of Luis Enrique in response to the setbacks suffered in recent days.”
According to the protocols, the players who test positive for COVID-19 will have to adhere to a minimum of 10-day isolation period. This effectively rules out both Llorente and Busquets of Spain’s first match against Sweden at the least.
Sweden are also in a similar spot of bother
Spain are in Group E of the European Championship, alongside Sweden, Poland and Slovakia. The team they will face in their first match, Sweden, are also in a similar spot of bother.
The Swedish football governing body has confirmed two positive cases in their camp – Bologna midfielder Matthian Svanberg and Juventus winger Dejan Kulusevski.
While Svanberg has travelled with the team to Gothenburg, Kulusevski has stayed back in Stockholm.
“This morning, Dejan Kulusevski informed the medical team that he had cold symptoms. Dejan was tested immediately and that test was positive.
Dejan has since been kept isolated from the rest of the group and did not travel with us to Gothenburg,”team doctor Anders Valentin was quoted saying by the SvFF’s website.
Interestingly, both Spain and Sweden have significant absentees from their squad. Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not be a part of what could have been his last Euro, as the AC Milan striker is nursing a knee injury.
On the other hand, Spain’s squad selection also raised a few eyebrows. Head coach Enrique left Sergio Ramos out of the squad, while some other experienced players in Jesus Navas and Nacho also failed to make the cut.
While UEFA allows up to 26 players to be called up to the final squad, Enrique had released a 24-man list. It will be interesting to see whether the two-time La Liga winner will announce the replacements of Llorente and Busquets soon or whether he will wait for the players to get back to fitness.