Inter captain tests positive for COVID-19

Samir Handanovic has become the second Inter Milan player this week to test positive for COVID-19.

The 36-year-old Inter captain and goalkeeper will be unavailable for their Serie A game against Sassuolo, the league leaders said on Wednesday.

Handanovic’s positive test came a day after full back Danilo D’Ambrosio was found to have contracted the virus.

A team news conference scheduled for Friday has been postponed due to concerns about further cases.

“FC Internazionale Milano can confirm that the Covid-19 test that Samir Handanovic underwent this morning has come back positive,” an Inter statement said.

“The Nerazzurri goalkeeper is already in quarantine at home.”

Slovenian Handanovic has played every game, across all competitions, for Inter this season, playing a key role in helping Antonio Conte’s side move into a strong position to win a first league title in 11 years.

Inter go into the weekend nine points clear of second-placed rivals AC Milan at the top of the standings having played 27 games, and 10 ahead of champions Juventus in third.

Meanwhile, French clubs from the country’s top two divisions will not release players called up for their national sides if the teams are playing outside the European Union (EU) due to the strict COVID-19 quarantine rules.

The two-week international break begins after the weekend’s domestic games when European national teams are set to kick off their World Cup qualifying campaigns.

FIFA said last month that clubs are not expected to release players if there is a “mandatory period of quarantine or self-isolation of at least five days upon arrival” in the country where the club is located or the country where the match is taking place.

“In this context, the clubs will not make available for selection the foreign players summoned for matches outside the EU / EEA zone during the next international period in March,” the French professional league (LFP) said in a statement.

Clubs are not expected to release players if there are travel restrictions between the two countries or if specific exemptions have not been granted to players by the local authorities.

France host Ukraine on March 24 in Paris before playing away to Kazakhstan (March 28) and then Bosnia and Herzegovina (March 31) – both of which fall outside the two zones.

Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamps is set to name his squad on Thursday.

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