Napoli president raises concerns over playing Champions League clash in Barcelona

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis raised concerns Thursday about his club traveling to face Barcelona in the Champions League amid a recent spike in coronavirus cases in Spain.

“I hear a lot of perplexity and fear coming from Spain and they’re acting like nothing is wrong,” De Laurentiis said. “What does it take to say, ‘Don’t go to Barcelona but rather go to Portugal, Germany or Geneva?”’

The Barcelona-Napoli game is scheduled for 8 August. The first leg of the round-of-16 encounter finished 1-1 in Naples in February. The winner will advance to the quarter-finals in Lisbon, Portugal. The second leg was originally scheduled for 18 March before being postponed amid the coronavirus lockdown.

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“If they’ve decided to play the Champions League in Portugal and the Europa League in Germany, I think we can go to Portugal or Germany for the round of 16,” De Laurentiis said. “I don’t understand why it should stay in a city that has a really critical situation.”

Players at Spanish clubs Sevilla, Real Madrid and Zaragoza recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Real Madrid play at Manchester City on 7 August in the Champions League, while Sevilla are scheduled to face Roma in the Europa League next Thursday in Duisburg, Germany.

AP

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