Footballers – they’re just like us! Here’s what the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and more are doing to keep themselves entertained in quarantine
The global coronavirus pandemic has put the football world to a halt, with all major European leagues suspended until April and UEFA postponing the Euros until next summer.
With Covid-19 having the ability to spread rapidly through person-to-person transmission and close contact, public health officials have stated that social distancing – which means limiting physical interaction as much as one possibly can – is a crucial way to slow down the spread of coronavirus.
As football has been suspended, many clubs have also shut down their training complexes, forcing players to stay at home to self-isolate and quarantine.
So what are our favourite football players doing to pass the time? Goal takes a look!
What are footballers doing in self-isolation and quarantine?
Lionel Messi remains at home in isolation mode with his children.
The Barcelona superstar posted an adorable photo on Instagram of him and two of his sons, reiterating the sheer scale of the Covid-19 outbreak and urging people to stay at home.
“Health must always come first. It is an exceptional moment and you must follow the instructions of both health organisations and public authorities. Only in this way can we combat it effectively,” he wrote on his Instagram.
“It is time to be responsible and stay at home, it is also a perfect opportunity to enjoy that time with those that you cannot always be around.
Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos shared a video on Twitter of him “teleworking” from home – aka running on a treadmill – with the hashtag #ITrainAtHome. Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil forward Neymar posted a similar video on his Instagram Story of himself working out from his home fitness studio, captioning it with #CoronaOut.
Ramos’ team-mate Karim Benzema has replicated his fitness regime from the comfort of his house, while Juventus‘ Douglas Costa has tweaked his usual regime a bit to allow his dog to join him.
Los Blancos striker Lucas Vazquez, on the other hand, has also enlisted the help of a third-party assistant, sharing a wholesome post of him working out alongside his young child.
Alexis Sanchez decided there was no better opportunity to post a shirtless picture of him working out with his dogs than this week, telling all of his followers that he was also making the most of training at home.
Cristiano Ronaldo posted an uplifting message to his social media channels urging the general public to follow the safety measures outlined by WHO (World Health Organization), writing: “I speak to you today not as a football player, but as a son, father, a human being concerned with the latest developments that is affecting the whole world.
“It is important we follow the advice of WHO and the governing bodies on how we handle this current situation.”
The Portugal striker returned to his home in Madeira in order to be with his family.
Belgium and Real Madrid shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois has taken a low-key approach to his own self-isolation, doubling down with a viewing of Frozen II with his children.
Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster, who initially feared that he contracted Covid-19 after feeling unwell but eventually testing negative, has also been keeping himself entertained with Netflix watching.
“It’s very boring. I’m probably doing the same as most people. I’m watching a lot of Netflix, watching TV, reading random and weird stuff, anything to pass the time,” he said.
“I’m one for the classics. I’ve re-watched The Office this week for the 100th time, Entourage, I watched Castaway last night with the wife, I’ve watched a few Star Wars things – there’s plenty to keep up with!”
Liverpool‘s Andy Robertson has also suggested that he is spending his quarantine downtime with watching Star Wars, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is definitely keeping himself entertained in one of the most creative ways yet – with his girlfriend, Perrie Edwards of girl group Little Mix, sharing a video of the two doing a cute dance together on Instagram.
James Milner, true to completely flipping accusations that he is one of the most “boring” footballers on the planet, poked fun at himself by posting his own version of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s quarantine post – revealing that he is spending his days in self-isolation rationing his Yorkshire Tea bags (brownie points if you spotted that one of his Yorkshire Tea bags reads “Milner’s Tea”).
— James Milner (@JamesMilner) March 15, 2020
He followed it up with a second video, this time of him doing the absolutely daring and adventurous errand of measuring the grass blades in his lawn.
— James Milner (@JamesMilner) March 17, 2020
Benjamin Mendy, like a few others including Manchester United‘s Odion Ighalo and former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, has been doing the 10-touch challenge with toilet paper – which is basically keepy-uppies but with loo roll.
It’s also no surprise that a slew of footballers are turning to esports and gaming to pass the time, with the likes of Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, Sead Kolasinac and PSG forward Julian Draxler live streaming their Fortnite gaming sessions.
Presnel Kimpembe also posted a photo of himself playing video games, this time with Warzone.
Other footballers, however, are understandably growing increasingly, frustratingly bored with the lack of football – namely one Tammy Abraham!
Me right now pic.twitter.com/1f9Qx7bk5i
— Tammy Abraham (@tammyabraham) March 15, 2020
What are football clubs doing during coronavirus quarantine?
We got a subtle glimpse into the post-coronavirus football world when a handful of European club Twitter accounts started challenging one another to alternative gaming during the first weekend of suspended football, to mixed results.
Southampton started the trend when they challenged the official Norwich account to a game of noughts and crosses.
Quite hilariously, Norwich failed to show up for the game, which led Southampton to make a “controversial substitution” in which Manchester City replaced the Canaries.
Well, we’ve reached the interval.
In truth, only one team making any effort to play here, but we’re still waiting for the first real breakthrough. pic.twitter.com/v9PYckI5x2
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) March 14, 2020
Manchester City and Southampton played out an end-to-end second half in which the Etihad side looked like they were going to claim bragging rights. Fans on Twitter watched with bated breath as the two battled it out, though the game eventually ended in a predictable, albeit nail-biting, draw.
Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen followed in similar fashion when they duelled against Hull City in an exhilarating game of online Connect Four (though Bayer Leverkusen stressed that the game was not Connect Four, but Connect 04).
Fell apart there at the end. Definitely need to work on making more meaningful connections in our build up. We’ll do a full analysis and try to remain positive. We go again sometime soon. 💪
— Bayer 04 Leverkusen (@bayer04_en) March 15, 2020