Spain captain Busquets to miss Euro 2020 opener after contracting COVID-19

Eight days before their opening Euro 2020 game against Sweden, Spain’s captain Sergio Busquets has tested positive for COVID-19, The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed. The Barcelona midfielder, who led his country to a 0-0 draw with Portugal, has left the camp, with the rest of the team forced to pull out of Tuesday’s warm-up friendly against Lithuania.

“The RFEF regrets to announce that its captain Sergio Busquets has received a positive result in the last PCR test that has been carried out this morning at the camp of the national team in Las Rozas,” the RFEF said. “The Federation’s medical services have adopted all the necessary measures in accordance with the protocols established by both the Ministry of Health and UEFA.”

Busquets will undergo isolation from the rest of the team until he returns a negative test, while those who have come into close contact with him will also isolate to prevent any spread of the virus in the team’s camp. The 32-year-old Busquets has played over 120 times for Spain and helped his country to triumphs at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.  

According to UEFA rules: “Once the player list has been submitted on 1 June 2021, the current regulations allow unlimited replacements on the player list in case of serious injury or illness before the first match, provided that the replacements are medically certified.” Meanwhile, Luis De la Fuente’s Under-21 Spain squad will take over to face Lithuania in their second friendly international instead.

Earlier, Spain head coach Luis Enrique announced his 26-men squad for UEFA Euro 2020, with a surprising revelation as he left out veteran defender and captain Sergio Ramos after he played just seven games for Real Madrid this season due to injury. The Spain coach has selected only 24 players for the virus-hit European Championships, despite being allowed 26

Spain’s three group stage matches plus a last-16 fixture will be hosted by San Mamés stadium. Enrique has until the weekend to make changes to his squad ahead of their opening fixture in Seville before playing Group E fixtures against Poland on June 19 and Slovakia four days later.

Elsewhere, Goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen was ruled out of the Netherlands squad for the Euro 2020 due to fitness doubts after he contracted COVID-19 last week. The Dutch soccer federation said that the Valencia goalkeeper, who was included in Frank de Boer’s final 26-man squad for the European Championship, will be replaced by Marco Bizot in the 26-man final squad.

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