Barcelona headlined Cristiano Ronaldo within the dressing room to remind gamers to comply with COVID-19 protocols
Given his legendary status with fierce rivals Real Madrid, where he became the all-time scorer before joining Juventus in 2018, one might assume that Cristiano Ronaldo is a persona non grata at Barcelona.
Ronaldo scored 20 goals against the Catalans in 34 games during his nine years at the Bernabeu, with two league titles and four Champions League titles among the 15 trophies he gave them during that period.
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However, Barcelona are still using the Portuguese superstar as some sort of motivation for their players, three years after ending their years of rivalry with Barca and Lionel Messi by swapping Spain for Italy.
On a wall at Barca Joan Gamper’s training ground hangs a clipping from a headline about Ronaldo from the Spanish sports daily AS, which reads: “Cristiano is positive again for COVID-19 and will miss the game against Barcelona.”
Eagle-eyed fans discover Ronaldo’s headline in the BARCELONA locker room https://t.co/E6D1eHH9jK
– Sun Sport (@SunSport) July 18, 2021
The headline comes from last October when Ronaldo missed last season’s Champions League group game between Juventus and Barca in Turin after returning a positive COVID-19 test and self-isolating.
The Ronaldo headline was issued to remind Barca’s players the importance of following all guidelines and protocols to avoid contracting COVID-19 and the impact of not taking it seriously enough.
According to AS, a statement under the cut reminds players and employees that “the competition is at stake” and in red letters “the rules must be obeyed”.
Much has been said about the possible reunion of Ronaldo and Messi when the two teams competed against each other for the first time in two years. Unfortunately, having just returned from the international match with Portugal, Ronaldo was tested positive for coronavirus in the weeks leading up to the aforementioned Champions League game and not given a negative test back in time to appear in the European game.
With Juve exhausting their star player, Barca won the game 2-0 thanks to goals from Ousmane Dembele and Messi, which ended the matter with an extra time penalty.
To underscore how big Ronaldo’s loss was in that game, he was available again at the time of the second leg at Camp Nou last December and scored two goals in Juve’s 3-0 win, which took their place as Group G winners secured.