He was one of the very first high-profile football figures to test positive for coronavirus. When Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta revealed that he had Covid-19 the Gunners’ Premier League game at Manchester City became one of the first matches to be postponed because of the pandemic. Since his positive test, the world has moved to being on a virtual lockdown with football suspended across all of the major leagues across the globe.
Now Arteta, the former Arsenal midfield ace who took over at the Emirates Stadium at the end of last year to replace the axed Unai Emery, has told how he came through the period of isolation and has now completely recovered. Speaking to the club’s official website, Arteta has lifted the lid on his fears of the chance that he might have passed on the disease, which has left many thousands dead and virtually locked down the planet.
“I am feeling completely recovered now, it’s true I started having some symptoms when we got the phone call from the club to let us know that we might be exposed to the virus because of the owner of Olympiacos and in that moment. I don’t know, I just felt something within me, that I had it.
“We had a game the following day against Manchester City, so I made a decision and called the doctor straight away and I asked him to drive home. I spoke with Raul Sanllehi, Edu, Vinai Venkatesham, Huss Fahmy and we set up a meeting together and I said, ‘Listen, we have a couple of players that have been exposed. There is a massive risk there and as well I am the first one feeling the symptoms, very clear symptoms. So, if that is the case, all of the players and the people related to the club who are in contact with me on a daily basis are exposed. So, we cannot make that decision, we have to speak to the Premier League, to Manchester City and we have to make the decision pretty quickly’.”
Arteta says that in terms of symptoms, it was a
“normal virus for me. I had three or four days which were a little bit difficult, with a bit of a temperature and a dry cough, and some discomfort in my chest. That was it. The difficulty is that I have people at home, three kids as well and I was worried. My missus has been through it and my nanny’s been through it. Thank God, the kids never got it. We are all completely fine now.”
Meanwhile, Arteta has also spoken of setting his isolated players what he calls “homework” as they continue to practice on their own because of the coronavirus pandemic. He added:
“There are different aspects that we have to try to maintain. There is the psychological support that they need, which we are giving them, and as well I’m giving them a lot of homework to do because I’ve been reviewing everything that we’ve been doing since I joined. There are things we have to maintain doing, improve and develop, and individually they are really enjoying the challenge.”