Coronavirus Threatens Serie A, from Inter to Italy U-21

The Coronavirus emergency continues. Unfortunately, the positive cases do not stop even in football. According to the Italian Department of Civil Protection COVID-19, the number of cases has been increasing day after day, reaching 5372 on Friday at a pace that is challenging the football industry. 

With the Serie A now counting 28 players positive to the coronavirus, it is clear that the protocol adopted to face the crisis and minimize disruptions in the world of calcio is not working. 

Genoa are a fitting example. The Rossoblu still count the highest amount of positive players. In that regard, they have released an official communication to inform that the number of positives is now of 17, a situation that had already forced the Serie A to postpone the Genoa-Torino game last week

On top of the Genoa one, there is another potential cluster that is worrying the Italian football establishment as the COVID-19 landed at La Pinetina – the Inter training facility. After Alessandro Bastoni and Milan Skriniar, now also Radja Nainggolan and Roberto Gagliardini have tested positive.

Antonio Conte can only hope that this is last piece of bad news he will need to face as next week’s Derby di Milano approaches. On that note, Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic just announced that after catching the virus and undergoing quarantine for more than two weeks, he has now tested negative. The trouble is over, at least for him.

At the moment, the main concern comes from those players called up to join their national teams during the international break and Inter are on red alert status. Another round of tests was executed yesterday and there is a new one scheduled for today. Unless there is a sudden change in the situation and a subsequent – but far from obvious – green light from the local health authorities, Antonio Conte may have quite a hard time planning the next derby without four elements.

Hopefully, the situation will improve, as, at Inter, anxiety is rising as the problem would become even more complicated with other positive players. The Champions League will kick off on October 21, with the Nerazzurri facing Borussia Monchengladbach in their first match. For Bastoni and Skriniar, it is going to be a race against time, while for Nainggolan and Gagliardini the chances to play are even smaller.

Radja Nainggolan tested positive to COVID-19 becoming the fourth Inter player currently infected

There are some growing concerns also aming the Italy U-21 lines. Their upcoming U-21 European Championship qualifiers match against Iceland was postponed as two Azzurrini players (probably Matteo Gabbia from Milan and Alessandro Plizzari from Reggina) and a staff member tested positive to coronavirus after a check made on Thursday when they arrived at the Reykjavik airport.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) promptly made the UEFA and local health authorities aware and together with the local Football Federation (KSI) decided to postpone the match. The three people who test positive couldn’t come back to Italy and are currently being monitored and tested again. The rest of the Italian delegation was tested again and, upon confirmation that they were all negative, could land back to the Belpaese.

But with new cases popping every day, the next few days will be decisive to understand what will be the impact of the coronavirus on the continuation of the Serie A and of the whole football season in Italy.


Current Serie A Players Positive to Coronavirus

Luca Ceppitelli (Cagliari)
Alberto Cerri (Cagliari)
Valon Behrami (Genoa)
Davide Biraschi (Genoa)
Petar Brlek (Genoa)
Francesco Cassata (Genoa)
Domenico Criscito (Genoa)
Mattia Destro (Genoa)
Lukas Lerager (Genoa)
Darian Males (Genoa)
Federico Marchetti (Genoa)
Luca Pellegrini (Genoa)
Filippo Melegoni (Genoa)
Mattia Perin (Genoa)
Marko Pjaca (Genoa)
Ivan Radovanovic (Genoa)
Lasse Schone (Genoa)

Miha Zajc (Genoa)
Davide Zappacosta (Genoa)
Alessandro Bastoni (Inter)
Radja Nainggolan (Inter)

Roberto Gagliardini (Inter)
Ionit Radu (Genoa)
Leo Duarte (Milan)
Matteo Gabbia (Milan)

Elif Elmas (Napoli)
Piotr Zielinski (Napoli)
Keita Balde (Sampdoria)