With football across Europe having to take a back seat because of the coronavirus outbreak, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has posted a social media message acknowledging the unprecedented situation whilst urging his followers to listen to the health professionals regarding next steps.
Messi is, by and large, seen as the best football player in the world, and as such, his words carry tremendous weight.
Despite Barcelona being at the top of the La Liga table and with the advantage in the Spanish top-flight, the resumption of the 2019/20 campaign is clearly the last thing on his mind.
The message on Instagram (in Spanish) has been published by MARCA in English;
“These are difficult days for everyone.
“We live worried about what is happening and we want to help by putting ourselves in the place of those who are having the worst time, or because it directly affects them or their family and friends.
“I want to send a lot of strength to them, to those who are working on the front line to fight it in hospitals and health centres.
“Health always comes first.
“This is an exceptional time and we must follow the instructions of both the health organisations and the public authorities.
“This is the only way we can change it effectively.
“It’s time to be responsible and stay at home, plus it’s the perfect time to be with your loved ones, which you can’t always do.
“A hug, and hopefully we can turn this situation around as soon as possible.”
For the next 15 days at least, Barcelona’s players are to stay at their homes, but as the Argentinian noted, it does at least allow players that are often away from their families the chance to be able to spend time with them.
Indeed, the picture in his post is of him relaxing with his two youngest sons, and sends as much of a pertinent message as the text which accompanies it.
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Son días complicados para todo el mundo. Vivimos preocupados por lo que está ocurriendo y queremos ayudar poniéndonos en el lugar de aquellos que peor lo están pasando, o bien porque les afectó directamente a ellos o sus familiares y amigos, o porque están trabajando en primera línea para combatirlo en hospitales y centros de salud. Quiero enviarles mucha fuerza a todos ellos. La salud debe ser siempre lo primero. Es un momento excepcional y hay que seguir las indicaciones tanto de las organizaciones sanitarias como de las autoridades públicas. Sólo así podremos combatirlo de manera efectiva. Es el momento de ser responsable y quedarse en casa, además es perfecto para disfrutar ese tiempo con los tuyos que no siempre se puede tener. Un abrazo y ojalá consigamos darle vuelta a esta situación cuanto antes. #QuedateEnCasa #StayAtHome