TURIN, Italy – Cristiano Ronaldo returned to training with Juventus in Turin on Tuesday, May 19, after an absence of over two months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 35-year-old arrived at the Juventus Training Centre in a Jeep with tinted windows around 09:20 (0720 GMT), leaving 3 hours later with a smile and thumbs up for waiting photographers.
Ronaldo underwent medical and physical tests before joining up with his teammates for the first time in 72 days for individual training, according to media reports.
Coach Maurizio Sarri has been conducting training in small groups since Monday, pending the final health protocol to be agreed with the Italian government.
Juventus players got back to individual training on May 4, the day Ronaldo returned to Italy after spending lockdown in his native Portugal.
For the past two weeks, he has been in quarantine in his villa in Turin.
Ronaldo played in Juventus' last Serie A game before the season was suspended, a 2-0 win over Inter Milan behind closed doors at the Allianz Stadium on March 8.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner is the first Juventus foreign player, among those who left Italy during the lockdown, to return to the team's Continassa training centre.
Later in the day, Serie A teams have been given the green light to resume group training but will have to wait until May 28 to know whether the season can resume, Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora said.
Spadafora told Italian television that government scientists had accepted the Italian football federation's (FIGC) revised health protocol.
"The Scientific Technical Committee have approved the FIGC protocol for the resumption of team training," Spadafora told Rai.
"It is excellent news, collective training can now resume.
"The FIGC have reviewed its first proposal with clarifications on the quarantine time in case of a positive test, but above all the famous initial self-isolation is avoided."
Spadafora said he has slated a meeting on May 28 with FIGC president Gabriele Gravina and Lega Serie A chief Paolo Dal Pino to decide on the return to competition.
"We will then decide if and when Serie A will restart," he said.
"The important thing will be to restart with the firm intention of completing the championship, then the federations will decide the modalities and formats to be adopted."
The revised protocol will allow group training, but not oblige players to remain permanently in the team's sports center.
In the case of a positive test only the infected player will be placed in two-week's quarantine, while the team group will be placed in isolation, and monitored, but can continue to train together.
FIGC president Gravina praised the decision "as a decisive step on the path of restarting football in Italy.”
The Italian season has been on hold since March 9 amid the pandemic which has killed more than 32,000 people in Italy.
Serie A teams have been training individually since May 4, and had been hoping to return to competition on June 13.
The FIGC pushed that date back to June 14 on Monday in line with a government decree that all sports competitions be suspended until next month. – Rappler