Atlético Madrid’s Tuesday double session was called off early amid “inconclusive” PCR results on tests conducted Monday. Relatively soon thereafter, Atlético confirmed that center back José Giménez’s COVID-19 test came back positive — the player missed training Monday after he informed club doctors that he was experiencing symptoms consistent with the disease.
The 25-year-old took to Instagram later Tuesday to announce he was now in isolation after experiencing a loss of smell and taste.
“I thank everyone for the messages of support and encouragement,” Giménez said. “I was one of those people who thought I would never catch the virus, and now I am isolated, complying with the protocols so I can come back stronger than ever.”
Giménez is the seventh member of Atlético’s first team to test positive for the novel coronavirus — following (in order) Renan Lodi, Ángel Correa, Šime Vrsaljko, Santiago Arias, Diego Costa and Diego Simeone.
As I’ve written before in this space, the pandemic has hit Spain to the tune of nearly 700,000 cases, and the spike which began in July has yet to really end. Despite the club’s reported caution, Atlético have become one of LaLiga’s more frail teams as it pertains to the illness — obviously the caution has not been cautious enough, and no one knows if or even when the squad will escape COVID’s clutches.
For Giménez, this is yet another setback in a still-young career that has been filled with them. The Uruguay international has sustained several muscular injuries since he first broke into the team five years ago and has never made 40 appearances in a season. The team’s third captain seems likely to miss Atlético’s first three games of the league season — home to Granada, on Sunday, away at Huesca midweek and home again to Villarreal — due to his quarantine. This unfortunate break could give early opportunities to Mario Hermoso and Argentine starlet Nehuén Pérez, as the latter appears increasingly likely to start the season in Madrid.