Barcelona’s COVID-19 outbreak swells to 10 players




Barcelona's Gerard Pique celebrates after scoring hi s side's first goal during a Champions League group E soccer match between F.C. Barcelona and Dinamo Kyiv at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

BARCELONA (AP) – The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the Barcelona squad swelled to 10 on Thursday, potentially jeopardizing the team’s return to league play after Spain’s winter break of nearly two weeks.

Sergiño Dest, Philippe Coutinho and Abde Ezzalzouli are the latest players to contract COVID-19, Barcelona said. They are self-isolating at home and the team said they were “in good health.”

The club already announced this week that Ousmane Dembélé, Samuel Umtiti, Gavi, Jordi Alba, Alejandro Balde, Clement Lenglet and Dani Alves had tested positive and were isolating.

Barcelona is also depleted by injuries going into Sunday’s match at Mallorca in seventh place.

Real Madrid said Wednesday that four players — Vinicius Jr., Thibaut Courtois, Federico Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga — tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of Sunday’s game against Getafe.

During the break, Dest and Vinicius had posted photos on Instagram of their respective trips to Miami. They included court-side photos at a Miami Heat basketball game and pictures with star Jimmy Butler. Vinicius’ account included one of him with Heat guard Tyler Herro. They all wore masks in the photos.

On Wednesday, the Heat was unable to meet the NBA’s requirement of eight available players for the game against San Antonio, leading to it being postponed. Miami had 12 players listed as out because of a combination of injuries and positive virus tests.

___