By Alex Trelinski • 30 April 2020 • 13:16
Balearic Islands' Formentera lights up as £20M superyacht bursts into flames. Image: SALVAMENTO MARÍTIMO/Twitter
A TOP Barcelona footballer in Spain has shockingly said he’s happy to risk catching the coronavirus if it was the price of La Liga resuming.
Croatian midfielder, Ivan Rakitic, has told the Marca newspaper that he would pay the price of gambling on his health for the rest of La Liga’s delayed fixtures to be finished off.
He claimed that it is football’s duty to society to “give a feeling of unity that we need so much,” with La Liga having been suspended since mid-March due to the State of Alarm.
Individual training is set to resume next week as the lockdown rules are relaxed, whilst protocols have been put into place for squads to come together, but no dates have yet been declared for that to happen.
There’s no clear indication either of when matches will return, as leagues in France and the Netherlands have scrapped the remainder of their seasons.
The most optimistic view is that football will not return much before July, with games played behind closed doors.
Rakitic took the stance in his Marca interview that money should not the be main reason for the sport returning as soon as possible.
La Liga chiefs claim that around a billion euros could be lost, mainly through forfeited TV rights, if the current campaign is not concluded.
Last week, the players union strongly suggested that Covid-19 testing for their members was not a priority, compared to essential workers getting the all-clear around Spain.
Rakitic said that the priority for wanting to play again should be all about boosting public morale, and not finances.
“I want to play. It is evident that we must try to return with the best health guarantees but we must also know that they will never be 100 per cent.
“But that same risk is taken by all workers, like supermarket staff also changing in dressing rooms and they have the same or greater possibility of getting Covid-19 as we do.
“They take that risk and I want to take it too. I think we have that debt and I’m sure if we asked the fans they would love for there to be football.”
Marca asked him to confirm that he would gamble with his own health.
Rakitic told them: Without a doubt and I say this from knowing that the risk will be very small, but also because of the solidarity with those who have been playing for us from the first minute and that they will continue like this for many days.”
He added that everybody involved in the sport would be “a little bit more human” after experiencing the coronavirus pandemic.
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