Cristiano Ronaldo failed to set a good example when he escaped to Portugal amid the coronavirus outbreak that saw the lockdown in Italy and the suspension of the country's Serie A games. The Juventus star caused further complications to his club by breaking the quarantined imposed by the Italian government.
This was the take by former Juventus chairman Giovanni Cobolli Gigli, who accused the football superstar of creating confusion among his teammates when he fled Italy to be with his sick mother in Madeira, Portugal.
Media reports said Ronaldo rushed back home when his mother suffered a stroke. The patient has since been discharged and is being cared for in a private facility. Ronaldo, however, had elected to stay in Portugal to ensure that he is not infected by COVID-19, which at the last count has already killed more than 7,500 people in Italy.
The striker's action in the middle of the health crisis was unfortunate because "things at Juventus got complicated when Cristiano Ronaldo left," according to Gigli, and per the report by Metro.
"He said he was going to Portugal because of his mother, but now he only appears to be taking pictures by the pool," the former Juventus executive pointed out.
Gigli said Juventus and Italian authorities made the wrong move of giving Ronaldo an exception as the star's going home was seen as a signal by some of his teammates that they can do the same. As a result, others in the club are also looking for a way out.
"When the exception was made for him, things fell apart and others wanted to leave but it shouldn't have been like this," said Gigli.
Since Ronaldo's decision to leave for Portugal, another teammate obtained permission to fly to Argentina. Gonzalo Higuain went back home because of a medical emergency. Supposedly, his mother is suffering from cancer.
These reasons are indeed valid but Gigli explained that to be sure, Juventus will suffer as players like Ronaldo and Higuain will be subject to quarantine upon return. For the club, that should mean members of the roster struggling to get back to full form, Gigli warned.
"When they return it'll be more difficult to get back in shape because they'll have to stay in quarantine for 14 days," Yahoo Sports reported him as saying.
The former team executive said that while it might be out of place to criticize now in light of the situation, he maintained that all the players should have been in strict quarantine, to begin with.
Gigli made his sentiments known as Ronaldo did his share in the fight to slow down the COVID-19 infection. The footballer and his agent, Jorge Mendes, recently donated €1 million that will fund the operation of three intensive care units for patients stricken by the coronavirus in Portugal.