Players on edge!…as leagues get set for resumption

Whether it is for the sake of meeting the demands of broadcasters, saving clubs financially or just providing entertainment – everyone wants to know when football might return.

Even the British government have openly acknowledged in recent days that the Premier League would provide a morale boost for those currently stuck at home. 

But there are growing concerns among the medical community over whether it is safe for the game to come back.

The risk of players contaminating each other and spreading the coronavirus – along with possible serious illness themselves – means there have been huge doubts over whether it is the right idea.

In recent days, players have started to speak up and offer their own opinions on whether leagues around the world should come back soon.

Sportsmail has collated the concerns and – in some cases – rallying cries of football’s biggest stars over whether football should return. 

 John Stones (Manchester City) 

‘We all want football back, me more than anyone, but I want it to be at the right time and I want it to be safe for everyone.

‘For me as a player, you want to be playing in stadiums full of fans and the fans want to come to the game. If they can’t get to it, they’ll watch it on TV, but that’s the love and passion everyone knows and loves.

‘For us as players, we want to be back out there fighting for titles and winning trophies for everyone to try and watch, be there at the games.

‘As soon as that’s safe to happen in my opinion we need to be ready.’ 

Manuel Lanzini (West Ham)

‘For me it would be crazy for the Premier League to resume until there is a vaccine to protect you.

‘If you ask me if I want to play, obviously, but you need to protect others. I wouldn’t start now.’

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

‘My feeling says that we may be able to train again within two weeks.

‘The government wants to restart football as soon as possible to give people something. 

‘Everything will be finished without fans, I think. That is not really interesting for anyone, but this season will be finished.

‘The financial aspect is far too important in the Premier League. If the season is not finished, it will cause serious problems.

‘[Financial concerns above players’ health?] Not so much. Everyone will be tested once we start playing again.

‘Gosh, I don’t think they are really afraid of themselves, but of their family. That is mainly the problem for many people.’

Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea)

‘Honestly, as far as I’m concerned they can give Liverpool the title. At the end of the day they deserve it, they’ve had a great season and are leading the table.

‘The thing is they were going to win the thing anyway, so I think the title is theirs ethically. Of course, I hope that the season can be finished and it will be sporting for everyone. 

‘If we continue to play and there is a danger, and we ignore that while people are dying somewhere in the world, I don’t know if that would sit right on my conscience.

‘If everything fits and it comes from those in charge that it’s okay, there’s no danger, and then we can start. But if there is a danger that it will start again and more people will get infected we can’t start again.’

Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) 

‘The majority of players are scared because they have children and families.

‘I’m scared but I’m with my girlfriend here and I’m not going to be in contact with other people. I’m locked in my house and the only person I could infect is my girlfriend.

‘They’re saying that there are people that have it and don’t have any symptoms but still infect you. That’s why I am here at home. Maybe I have the illness and I don’t even know.

‘When one person is ill we will think, “Oh what’s happening here?” I hope a vaccine will be found soon so that this all ends.’ 

Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)

‘We are in a situation where everyone wants to finish and have the verdict on the field.

‘It would be terrible if everything ended like that nine days before the end of the Premier League. It would also be cruel for Liverpool with the lead they have. They are almost champions.

‘As with everyone, there would be a taste of unfinished business. 

‘In addition, we are entering the most exciting period, the most beautiful moment of the season. Nobody wants it to end like this.’ 

Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich) 

‘I am speaking consciously of the football family and football matches, because the fact that advice will be given on the restart of the federal leagues and, if possible, a decision is likely to have consequences for all of football, right down to the many amateur clubs and the youngest generations – and beyond also for many other sports.

‘Even from other European countries, and indeed all over the world, people will be looking at us. 

‘This is an enormous responsibility for us, which we must be aware of with every fibre. We must be aware that it is also important to us now.’

Paulo Dybala (Juventus)

‘To tell you the truth, I never thought I was going to miss playing and training that much.

‘I feel like I need to train, see my team-mates and friends and at least touch the ball because training at home isn’t the same on my own.

‘I need to put my boots on and run, score a goal… As I always say, when you are passionate you make everything twice as important.

‘It’s been too long without training. We don’t know exactly when we’ll be back. It’s not like a holiday, when you know you’ll be resting for a certain amount of time.

‘I know my only job is to relax and keep in good shape, but nothing major as opposed to now.

‘It started as being one week, then one more, then one more, so I train here but it’s not the same.’

Patric (Lazio)

‘We are not afraid and, with the right precautions, have to get back on the field.

‘Football is no different to any other business, we’ve been at home for two months now and want to get back to work. If everything else is returning to normality, why shouldn’t we?’ 

Musa Barrow (Bologna)

‘I have lost friends. People who helped me, supported me, given me advice, who raised us in the house where we grew up.

‘I think of Don Fausto Resmini, then Dino’s wife, a gentleman full of humanity.

‘I will tell you one thing. My first goal, when we resume, will be dedicated to them and to Bergamo. I will have a message under the shirt, an interview or looking to the skies. But it will be all for them.

‘We must resume safely, but certain situations will never be forgotten. In Gambia we say that football has the power to save your life. If it can also provide smiles, it’s welcome.’

The entire Eibar squad’s letter (La Liga)

‘We love football and nothing would give us more pleasure than being able to come back to it… but we are afraid to start an activity in which it’s not possible to complete even the first recommendations of every expert. 

‘It disturbs us that, to do what we like most, we risk infection our families and friends, as well as contributing to a new wave of the disease.’

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