Mesut Ozil is backing the tough measures being taken to combat the coronavirus that has left Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta laid low.
The world of football has been in a state of lockdown since the virus took hold with Emirates Stadium chief Arteta one of the first high-profile figures in the game to test positive.
His condition led to the Gunners’ Premier League game fixture at Brighton’s Amex Stadium being postponed and that followed the match at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium meeting the same fate. Subsequently, all top-flight fixtures — along with the majority of games in the UK — were postponed.
It is unclear at present exactly what the game’s hierarchy plans to do with regards the rest of the season but the decision may ultimately be out of their hands if the government step in to announce a total lockdown.
As for Ozil, he took to social media platform Twitter to talk about his concerns for the welfare of fans and the populace in general. He said:
“Football does not matter right now. The health and wellbeing of everyone is far more important than everything else. Guys, take all the precautions you can – be mindful and considerate of everyone, especially those who are at high risk. As we go through this global issue, we should not forget to say thank you to all doctors, nurses and scientists etc worldwide, who are helping to keep this virus from spreading. They are under high pressure in the upcoming weeks and deserve our respect and gratitude.”
Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira has since revealed that that Arteta has spoken to his players since contracting the virus. The Uruguayan ace is currently quarantined at home and working on his own recovery after he fractured his ankle in the first half of Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Portsmouth in the FA Cup fifth round.
“We didn’t expect this virus to reach the club, the locker room. Arteta is better. He was able to communicate with us and he is improving. In recent days, many cases of coronavirus were discovered in London and people were nervous. In some supermarkets, you can no longer find toilet paper or gel alcohol.’
“I had to buy some devices and the club will collaborate with everyone so that we can continue working individually in our homes. I’m happy because the exams were good. I’m still wearing the orthopaedic boot. In eight or ten weeks I will be able to work normally. It’s difficult for the family to be away. Today I would have to be traveling to Uruguay, but all the flights were cancelled due to the coronavirus.”
Meanwhile, Arsenal club doctor Gary O’Driscoll has turned down an approach from Liverpool and will stay with the Gunners. O’Driscoll was said to be “flattered” to be offered the job at Anfield, but has decided to reject it for “professional and personal reasons”. It is believed that key to his decision is the fact that his family is settled in London — he is said to be “excited by the future at Arsenal”.