MADRID (AP) — It was a beautiful sight for soccer fans: Lionel Messi juggling a soccer ball again.
The Barcelona star hadn’t been on a training field for nearly two months, since Spain went into a lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.
But he and other Spanish league players returned to action on Friday with individual training sessions as their teams began preparing for soccer’s return.
The players hadn’t practiced since the confinement began on March 14. The league was suspended two days before that.
Barcelona, Sevilla and Villarreal were among the first clubs back after the Spanish government this week loosened some of the restrictions that had been in place in the hard-hit southern European nation.
Atlético Madrid is set to resume its activities on Saturday and Real Madrid’s players will be back at the team’s training camp on Monday.
The league is expected to restart in June with matches without fans.
Players and teams are having to follow strict guidelines to guarantee everyone’s safety during the practice sessions.
All players, coaches and club employees involved in the training were tested for COVID-19 before practice resumed. The league has not yet released results but some local media reports said three yet-to-be-named players tested positive. The information was not independently confirmed.
The teams’ facilities are being constantly disinfected, and players are having to avoid interactions with teammates.
Messi was by himself when the club’s TV channel filmed him juggling