Lionel Messi and Eden Hazard lead the way as Barcelona and Real Madrid stars return for medical tests wearing masks and gloves, with LaLiga hoping to resume the season by the middle of June

Lionel Messi and Eden Hazard were among the big names who donned protective masks and gloves on their return to training on Wednesday.

Players from Barcelona and Real Madrid were pictured arriving for medicals after almost two months without a game due to the corona virus crisis.

But with LaLiga ramping up their plans to resume the season next month, stars from both clubs were allowed to finally get back to their respective training bases. 

Antoine Griezmann, Thibaut Courtois and Luis Suarez were also seen wearing gloves and masks on their arrival, with Barca sharing a picture of Sergi Roberto undergoing his medical to their Instagram account.

LaLiga officials gave the Catalan giants the green light to conduct the tests after an inspection of the club’s facilities on Tuesday.

Frenkie de Jong, Arturo Vidal and Ansu Fati were also back at the Ciutat Esportiva training base in protective gear, while Real shared an image of manager Zinedine Zidane and captain Sergio Ramos in gloves and masks in front of the Bernabeu.

In a statement on their website, Los Blancos revealed that their players had arrived at the club’s base throughout the morning, with each member of Zidane’s squad given a few minutes to chat with the boss from a safe distance.

Social distancing guidelines will be enforced at all LaLiga training grounds, with Barca and Real Madrid players both undergoing coronavirus tests on Wednesday morning. 

Spanish football is anticipating at least 30 cases of coronavirus among its players, but will not allow professionals testing positive to derail its operation to restart the season in the middle of June.

LaLiga is prepared for a number of players testing positive but they say only players who test positive will be quarantined and the four phases of testing, solitary training, group training, and full-squad training will go ahead. 

Some players have expressed concerns over the safety of their return to action and Eibar’s squad issued a statement on Tuesday saying they feared catching the virus while playing and passing it on to loved ones.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas responded by telling players: ‘There is more risk going to the chemist than there is going to training.’

Tebas did say he understood concerns and added: ‘We are taking many precautions for a very safe and controlled return.’

In a bid to make training environments as safe for players as possiblet, LaLiga has sent out a 24-page special report advising on training protocol.

The report also informs clubs of their obligation to test players for Covid-19 before they begin training.

In the first round of tests players will be tested for Covid-19 and have the test for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.

Coaching staff and essential staff (those working in close proximity to players) will also be tested three times before the season starts.

The protocol also recommends that players, coaching staff and essential staff live on site at training ground or in team hotels if possible for the group and full-squad phases of training.

So-called non-essential staff, who don’t have daily contact with players, and who will go home after work, have been told to leave uniforms on site for them to be washed daily.

Other advice includes all workers washing hands once every hour and the packaging of all new food brought into the kitchens of training grounds being disinfected before the food is removed and used.

Players who do return to their homes should not leave their homes for any reason other than to go to training and those who live with are also advised to isolate.

Clubs should arrange for groceries and other essential items to be delivered to players’ homes.

In the second phase of training, players will be divided up into groups of eight with no mixing between groups.

When this happens, and again where possible, clubs should use three dressing rooms so that there is no more than three players sharing a dressing room at any one time. Dressing rooms should be disinfected after every use.

Spain’s secretary for Sport Irene Lozano has echoed LaLiga’s desire that news of players testing positive will not halt plans for training to be gradually stepped up over the next five weeks and for the league to restart in mid June.


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