Over 1,100 players and officials tested negative for the virus at the end of April and everyone entering the stadium had temperatures taken. Anyone not on the pitch or warming up also had to wear masks at all times. Most managed to do just that with some snazzy club-branded protective equipment on display, but there were times when it slipped.
We were travelling to Napoli at the end of February to play a Champions League game when things began to happen. There had already been coronavirus cases in the north of Italy and we had our temperatures taken when we arrived in the country: We were all OK. In general, the mood was still that the pandemic we find ourselves in now was quite far away. Little did we know, it was right on our doorstep.
The virus was uncontrollable. It soon arrived in Spain. People got scared, but nobody expected a situation like the one we are experiencing now.
Two weeks later, on March 7, we played Real Sociedad at Camp Nou. The following week, La Liga was suspended. Nobody expected it to happen that fast, but the league made the right decision to stop playing football. There were already people dying.
Coaches had talked of how difficult it was in preseason friendlies to get their instructions across to players during a game while masked, and there were occasions when masks were lifted. Not all substitutes wore the masks correctly at all times, but overall, it worked pretty well.