Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has admitted he feared he might infect the entire Gunners team after testing positive for coronavirus.
Arteta revealed he was already feeling the symptoms when he received a call from Olympiakos with the worrying news that Arsenal’s squad could have been exposed to Covid-19.
Olympiakos had visited the Emirates two weeks earlier for a Europa league clash, and the Greek side’s owner Evangelos Marinakis had since tested positive for the deadly virus.
Arsenal were due to play Arteta’s former club Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium the day after the call came – and the Gunners boss said he knew he had to get tested straight away and inform the Premier League.
That was two weeks ago – and it ultimately led to the suspension of the Premier League and all other matches as the UK’s football scene realised the seriousness of the situation.
“It’s true I started having some symptoms when we got the phone call from the club [Olympiakos] to let us know that we might be exposed to the virus,” Arteta said in an interview with Arsenal’s official website.
“I don’t know, I felt something within me, that I had it.
“We had a game the following day against Manchester City, so I made a decision and called the doctor straight away and I asked him to drive home.
“I spoke with Raul, Edu, Vinai, Huss and we set up a meeting together.
“I said, ‘Listen, we have a couple of players that have been exposed. There is a massive risk there and as well I am the first one feeling the symptoms, very clear symptoms. So if that is the case, all of the players and the people related to the club who are in contact with me on a daily basis are exposed. So we cannot make that decision, we have to speak to the Premier League, to Manchester City and we have to make the decision pretty quickly.’
“Then you realise: ‘Wow, everybody can be exposed here, this is very serious’ and you start to think about the people that you’ve been in contact with and the other people that can be related to us. That’s when a bit of fear comes.”
Arteta, who said he had now “completely recovered” revealed his wife and his children’s nanny had also contracted the virus.
“In terms of symptoms, it was a normal virus for me,” said the Arsenal manager.
“I had three or four days which were a little bit difficult, with a bit of a temperature and a dry cough, and some discomfort in my chest. That was it.
“The difficulty is that I have people at home, three kids as well, and I was worried. My missus has been through it and my nanny’s been through it. Thank God, the kids never got it. We are all completely fine now.”
Arteta said his technical staff had kept Arsenal’s players focused on their training while he was off with the illness.
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