Barcelona defender Sergi Roberto spoke to the media on Friday about how the players have dealt with such 'unusual circumstances' amidst the COVID-19 lockdown. Barcelona have resumed training ahead of the La Liga restart and are now set to play the remainder of the season in empty stadiums.
Speaking on how it feels upon returning to training with the first-team, the Barcelona player began by saying that it has been a good experience so far and they as a group are looking forward to getting back to work in full flow.
“The first week has gone very well. We were all looking forward to getting back to work. I think all my team-mates are the same. We have spent a lot of time at home so we're getting back into the feeling of being with the ball on the pitch.”
The Barcelona academy product also spoke about how the club's fitness coaches have helped the players keep fit both physically and mentally by training at their respective homes. Roberto further revealed that their training sessions at the ground are organised in smaller groups and often do individual exercises, some with and some without the ball.
Barcelona strictly following safety measures
Given that there are a host of safety measures to be followed strictly upon the resumption of training, they have now become an integral part of the players' training routines. Speaking on these measures, Roberto continued,
"We have to arrive for training already in our kit. We can't go in the dressing room or anything. We just put on our boots and each player comes 5 minutes after the next so there's no contact. Then each player has their part of the pitch. So we go there and warm up, always keeping a distance from other players."
The Barcelona utility man added,
"When we finish it's the same. We go and change our boots, put on our shoes and go home in the same clothes that we wore for training. We have to shower at home and the next day it's the same again."
La Liga president Javier Tebas confirmed that the officials are attempting to restart the season my mid-June, which could see the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid back in action earlier than expected. The major con, however, is the fact that they will have to do play games in empty stadiums due to the virus outbreak.
Speaking on the prospect of playing behind closed doors, Roberto commented that it would be a 'strange' experience while also being assured that Barcelona fans all across the globe will cheer them on from their homes. He said,
"It's going to be strange to play in front of an empty stadium. Football isn't the same without fans. We play for ourselves but also for the fans, for the people in the stadium enjoying our games. But we know that although they can't be in the stadium they'll be cheering us on from home. We'll be playing at 100% so that our fans at home feel happy in such difficult times."
Lastly, the Barcelona man spared a few important words to thank the healthcare and essential workers for all their effort during such difficult situations.
"Especially thanks to all the health workers. Thank you for always being there on the frontline. They're the people in most danger because they are in contact with affected people."
Barcelona will look to defend their La Liga title as rivals Real Madrid as Zinedine Zidane & co are hot on their trails as they're just two points behind.