The worrying coronavirus outbreak in Italy which has already claimed three lives meaning Barcelona will be forced to undergo a coronavirus test when they travel to Naples on Tuesday ahead of their Champions League clash with Napoli.
Four Serie A matches, including Inter Milan’s home game against Sampdoria, were postponed over the weekend.
Italy is trying to contain the coronavirus outbreak in their country and have imposed strict quarantine restrictions in two northern “hotspots” which has left 50,000 people stranded.
Naples is not one of the affected areas but the Italian health ministry has said is mandatory for all travelers to undergo testing.
It means Lionel Messi and his team-mates will have their temperature checked upon arrival at the airport on Monday.If any are deemed to be too high, they will be taken straight to hospital.
Barcelona take on Napoli on Tuesday and they will fly back to Catalonia as soon as the match is over.
Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte spoke at a news conference where he confirmed some football fixtures were to be cancelled as a matter of precaution.
“Minister of Sport [Vincenzo] Spadafora intends to suspend all sporting events planned for Sunday in the Veneto and Lombardy regions,” Conte said.
Meanwhile, Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong is looking forward to testing himself in such an iconic stadium.
“I have never played at Stadio San Paolo, but Napoli are a very good team,” he said.
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“We played against them in preseason but that is always different and it doesn’t mean very much. Napoli have lots of quality, although this season they have had somewhat disappointing results in Serie A.
“They have done well in the Champions League, for example against Liverpool. Napoli are a very strong team and we hope that these will be great matches for us!
“In the group stage, you have six matches. So if you lose one or have a bad day, you can still fix it.
“It is much more difficult in the knockout stages. You also are left with only the best teams; there is not much difference in the level between them.”
The young Dutchman also hailed team-mate Messi who smashed four against Eibar in La Liga on Saturday.
“When I began training with him it was strange, because when I was 12, still in secondary school, I used to watch a lot of football,” he added.
“He was already the best in the world. He won the Ballon d’Or back then, so I was a fan or whatever you want to call it.”
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