Valencia have released a statement expressing their ‘surprise’ at news Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini had COVID-19 symptoms before their game. ‘It would put numerous people at risk.’
Gasperini made the confession to La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper, admitting he felt unwell the day before and during the second leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie on March 10.
He did not have a fever, so at the time was not considered eligible for a coronavirus test.
It was only in a blood test 10 days ago that Gasperini discovered he had the antibodies and therefore recovered from the virus.
“Valencia CF wish to publicly express our surprise at comments made by Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini which appeared in the Italian press this Sunday, stating that, both the day before and the day of the match played on March 10th at Mestalla, the coach of our opposing team in the UEFA Champions League Last 16 game was aware of suffering symptoms theoretically compatible with those of coronavirus, without taking preventive measures,” read a statement.
“Such actions, if this was the case, would have put at risk numerous people during the trip to -and stay in- Valencia.
“It should be remembered that this game was held behind closed doors amidst strict safety measures, on the order of the Spanish health authorities, to prevent the risk of COVID-19 contagion, precisely due to the presence of persons from an area already publicly classified as 'at risk' at that time.”
The first COVID-19 case in Italy was registered on February 20, almost a month before this trip to Valencia.
“I felt ill the day before the Valencia game, then on the afternoon of the match I felt even worse,” Gasperini told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“If you look at the pictures, I did not look good on the bench. That was March 10. The two nights afterwards, I did not sleep well. I didn’t have a fever, but I felt like I did.
“Every two minutes, an ambulance would go past, as there’s a hospital near the training ground. It sounded like a warzone. At night I would think, what will happen to me if I go into that hospital? I can’t go now, I have so much still to do…
“It was in a way a joke with myself to lighten the mood, but on the other hand, I really did think about that. Then, on Saturday March 14, I had the toughest training session in years, an hour on the running machine, plus a 10km run. I felt strong, wonderful.”
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