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'I am reading a lot of newspapers': What players are doing without football amid coronavirus crisis

Clockwise: Pajtim Kasami, Davide Petrucci, Flo Bojaj and Aymen Tahar. Credit: PA

This weekend saw the shutdown of professional football in England due to coronavirus but the same is happening across the globe.

We spoke to a number of players in different countries about how they are keeping themselves busy without being able to do their job.

Davide Petrucci is currently playing in Serie B. Credit: PA
  • Davide Petrucci: former Manchester United midfielder, now playing for Ascoli in Italy. Their last game was on March 8

"Here in Italy, the situation is complicated as a lot of people are dying.

"It is not easy to stop it.

"The Italian Football Federation decided it is not safe to leave the house, so I am spending time in my house with my girlfriend and my dog, reading a lot.

"I like to read and learn new things, which is how I choose to spend my time.

"I am lucky enough to have a garden, so I can do some exercise and keep training each day.

"It is not easy, as the space is not the same, the facilities are not the same.

"We have to get used to the situation and try our best.

"I am not a guy who plays a lot of Playstation but sometimes I play board games or strategy games.

"Then anything that can keep you occupied, such as watching series on Netflix or Amazon Prime, or watching old games so you can learn things.

"I am also calling people on FaceTime or House Party, so you can speak to four or five friends at a time and it's very funny, and sometimes my family are sending funny videos and stuff, so everyone is connected even if we're staying at home."

Aymen Tahar has spent most of his career abroad. Credit: PA

"We had our last training on Saturday morning.

"Since then I’ve been watching the Sky Sports News all day pretty much to see what’s happening.

"Been on the PlayStation seems like a lot of my friends - including plenty of footballers - are online, it hasn’t really changed from my normal routine.

"On Monday I went into to the club's gym to do a work out.

"Generally where I’m staying in Greece people are listening to government instructions of staying home for the next few weeks, shops restaurants etc are only doing take outs. It is giving me time read, though, which is good."

  • Aymen Tahar: former Sheffield United midfielder, now playing for Panetolikos in the Greek Super League. Their most recent game was on March 1
Pajtim Kasami currently plays in his native Switzerland but his contract runs out in the summer. Credit: PA
  • Pajtim Kasami: former Fulham midfielder now playing for Sion in Switzerland. They last played on 23 February

"I have been stuck at home in Switzerland since Friday.

"Basically, the club said that we should avoid having contact with people, stay home and we should only go out to the grocery store.

"I did that on Friday, so now I am just avoiding going out and only to the supermarket in an emergency.

"I am keeping myself fit at home.

"In the morning I go running into the hills where there are no people.

"I did some training on my terrace: some weights, core and gym stuff.

"I am reading a lot of newspapers to keep up with what is going on in the world and at night I keep myself busy with doing stuff such as FaceTiming all my friends.

"It is a time to reflect and be close people that you can.

"I am looking forward that we can hopefully beat this virus and everything will go back to normal and football will come back.

"I wish everyone to be fit.

"We have some instructions from how physical coach, asking how we are but the only safe place is to be home."

Flo Bojaj now plays in Bulgaria Credit: PA
  • Flo Bojaj: former Huddersfield striker now playing for Etar in Bulgaria. They last played on 7 March

"We got to the stadium on Friday to leave for the away game against Lokomotiv Plovdiv, then we got told all matches are postponed for a month, everyone was pretty much gutted because that’s a long time without games, so we trained instead that day then we got the weekend off, so I went to the gym for a upper body workout on the Saturday and Sunday.

"We’ve been told to stay indoors, our training is also postponed until the 23rd so they’ve given us a programme to do on our own, like different long distance runs and sprints.

"We have to do that until we are back in training which is still not 100% because they might postpone it further.

"Most restaurants, cafes and cinemas are closed.

"So it is pretty boring. I am watching a lot of random series on Netflix."

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know