Cristiano Ronaldo has tested positive for coronavirus, Portuguese football authorities announced today.
The 35-year-old superstar is asymptomatic but has gone into isolation and will miss Portugal’s match against Sweden on Wednesday.
The news comes just days after the five-time Ballon d’Or winner played for Portugal against France in the Nations League and Spain in an international friendly, meaning that he has come into recent contact with a host of football’s top stars.
There is also concern for his international team-mates after Ronaldo posed for a picture with them just hours before the news was announced, with the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star smiling for a selfie at dinner.
Ronaldo immediately left the national team after returning his positive test and is now a doubt for forthcoming Juventus matches.
Ronaldo (bottom left) poses for a photo with his team-mates just hours before the news broke
Cristiano Ronaldo – pictured at close quarters with France’s Kylian Mbappe while playing for Portugal against France on Sunday – has tested positive for coronavirus
Ronaldo’s girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez immediately posted a picture that appeared to show her on a FaceTime call with the player, calling him ‘my inspiration’
Among those sitting close to Ronaldo at the dinner were his former Real Madrid team-mate Pepe and Sergio Oliveira, who also plays for Porto, Daniel Podence of Wolves and Manchester City’s Joao Cancelo. Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes is also in the Portugal squad.
During the game against France on Sunday night, Ronaldo was seen shaking hands and with a number of top stars including PSG’s Kylian Mbappe.
Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud also embraced Ronaldo at full-time, six days before the West London side’s next game against Southampton on Saturday.
France player Eduardo Camavinga swapped shirts with the Portugal star and later posted to say that he ‘wouldn’t wash it’.
Ronaldo played all 90 minutes of the game at the Stade de France in Paris, which ended goalless.
Four days earlier, Ronaldo played in a friendly against Spain in Lisbon, embracing a team-mate and shaking hands with his manager after his second-half substitution.
His close contacts on that occasion included Tottenham Hotspur defender Sergio Reguilon, who is due back for his club side when they play West Ham on Sunday.
Portugal’s Jose Fonte and Anthony Lopes had already tested positive since the international break started, but it is not known whether Ronaldo was infected by them.
It has been confirmed that 35-year-old Ronaldo is asymptomatic and is now self-isolating while he recovers.
The Portuguese federation did not immediately release details about where Ronaldo was in isolation, or for how long he would stay there.
However, Ronaldo’s result prompted another round of tests for the rest of the squad, who all tested negative.
The rest of the team was scheduled to practise normally on Tuesday ahead of their match against Sweden in Lisbon tomorrow.
The French squad has also tested negative, but new infections can take a few days to detect, meaning it is not guaranteed that they escaped being infected by Ronaldo.
Ronaldo’s test result makes him a doubt for Juventus’ Champions League group match with Barcelona on October 28, which was set to pit him against his old rival Lionel Messi.
Juventus had been in isolation following positive tests for two staff members, but Ronaldo and six others were allowed to leave the isolated group and join their national teams.
However, Italian health authorities have signalled that the players’ departure was a breach of protocol and said that local prosecutors have been informed.
Ronaldo touches Kylian Mbappe at the end of Portugal’s game with France on Sunday night
Ronaldo puts an arm around Real Madrid and France defender Raphael Varane on Sunday
There were also hugs for Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud at the end of the Nations League clash
Four days before the France game, Ronaldo was in the thick of the action in a friendly against Spain, seen here challenging for a header against Tottenham Hotspur’s Sergio Reguilon
Ronaldo shook hands with his manager (left) and embraced his team-mate Joao Felix (right) after being substituted in the Spain game last Wednesday
According to Portuguese media, the country’s football authorities informed Ronaldo’s mother Dolores Aveiro about the test result before announcing it to the world.
Ronaldo rushed to his mother’s side after Aveiro suffered a life-threatening stroke in March.
Today she posted a picture of him in a Portugal shirt on social media, alongside the message: ‘God gave great battles to great warriors. ‘And this is another war you are going to win son.’
Mere minutes after the announcement was made, Ronaldo’s girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez posted a picture to Instagram which appeared to show the Portugal superstar in good spirits during a FaceTime call with her.
Alongside the snap, she wrote ‘You are my inspiration @Cristiano.’
Ronaldo’s positive test comes shortly after two of his Portuguese team-mates also tested positive for Covid-19.
Earlier in the international break, Anthony Lopes and Jose Fonte had contracted the virus and were also immediately sent away from the group.
France youngster Eduardo Camavinga claimed he would ‘not wash’ Ronaldo’s shirt on Sunday
Portugal reached a new record of 1,646 daily coronavirus cases at the weekend after suffering a resurgence in infections along with the rest of Western Europe
Portugal is typically seeing around 10 coronavirus deaths per day, and has suffered 2,080 deaths since the start of the pandemic
The news of Ronaldo’s positive test was confirmed in a statement from the Portuguese FA, which reads: ‘Cristiano Ronaldo was released from the work of the National Team after a positive test for Covid-19, so he will not face Sweden.
‘The Portuguese international is doing well, without symptoms, and in isolation.
‘Following the positive case, the remaining players underwent new tests this Tuesday morning, all with a negative result, and are available to [manager] Fernando Santos for training this afternoon, in Cidade do Futebol.’
Santos had said before the France game that ‘We are the most tested people and we have the guarantee that everyone who will be traveling to France with us are negative’.
Like the rest of Western Europe, Portugal has seen a recent resurgence in coronavirus cases and on Saturday announced a record 1,646 cases in a day.
A state of emergency imposed on September 15 limited gatherings to 10 people and restricted opening hours for commercial establishments.
The pandemic has gravely damaged the country’s tourism-dependent economy, with the central bank expecting GDP to contract by 8.1 per cent this year.
Ronaldo’s positive test will raise further questions over whether international fixtures should have gone ahead at the height of a worldwide pandemic.
The likes of Milan Skriniar, Leo Dubois, Manuel Akanji, Naby Keita and Amadou Diawara have all also contracted Covid-19 while away with their national teams, much to the ire of their club bosses.
Brazil forward Neymar, his PSG teammate Mbappe and AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic have also tested positive for the virus in recent weeks.