Cologne are planning to move into a "quarantine-like" training camp after the Bundesliga club were hit with three positive coronavirus tests.

On Friday, Cologne announced three unspecified people at the club contracted COVID-19 amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought the Bundesliga and sport to a standstill globally.

The trio – which reportedly consists of two players and a physio – were consequently told to undergo a 14-day quarantine procedure.

A decision on the potential resumption of the Bundesliga is set to be made on Wednesday and Cologne announced they will head into a training camp in a protected location if politicians approve to conclude the 2019-20 campaign.

"This form of voluntary quarantine extends the existing infection control and hygiene concept and is intended to further reduce the risk of infection from COVID-19," Cologne said on Sunday. "The measure will be/has been taken regardless of the results of the COVID-19 tests at FC.

"The concept of the 'Task Force Sports Medicine/ Extraordinary Matchday Operation' of the DFL already provides that all teams go to quarantine-like training camps one week before the games restart. FC, however, prefer to start this period at the beginning of team training."

It comes after Cologne midfielder Birger Verstraete expressed his concern with the club still training amid the positive COVID-19 tests – though the Belgian has since apologised.

Verstraete spoke to Belgian TV station VTM and criticised Cologne for their handling of the three positive cases.

After Cologne responded and dismissed Verstraete's comments, the 26-year-old said: "I gave an interview about my personal concerns about my girlfriend potentially getting the virus. I expressed myself falsely in a few places, so that in the translation a misunderstanding has came about and I am sorry for that.

"Instead of giving an interview out of emotion, I should have contacted our doctor and had my questions answered. It was not my intention to blame the responsible authorities or Cologne. I feel comfortable and in good hands with FC.

"I will continue to give my all in training ... and I want to end the season in Cologne. My girlfriend, who belongs to the risk group because of a previous heart disease, will head home to Belgium and stay there for the time being."

Jupp Heynckes feels Manchester City attacker Leroy Sane is yet to become a "top player" and believes the reported Bayern Munich target is not worth €100million.

Sane, 24, was heavily linked with a move to Bayern before suffering a serious knee injury in August last year.

The German giants are reportedly still interested in Sane, but Heynckes – who won a Champions League and four Bundesliga titles as Bayern head coach – said the attacker was not yet among the world's best.

"He was in good shape before he injured himself so badly. For me, he has not yet made a breakthrough as an absolute top player," he told Welt am Sonntag.

"I think this is a player who is currently at a crossroads. Will he continue to work hard on himself, or will he continue to be just an extraordinary talent?"

Bayern were reportedly prepared to pay at least €100m for Sane, although that may have changed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But Heynckes does not feel Sane, a 21-time Germany international, is worth that hefty sum.

"He has to be ready to take the next big step because there is no use in flashing the talent every now and then," he said.

"I can honestly tell you that I don't think the price is justified."

Stephan El Shaarawy confirmed he was close to returning to Roma in January in a bid to earn a place in Italy's squad for Euro 2020.

El Shaarawy, who left Roma for Shanghai Shenhua last year, was heavily linked with a return, but no move was completed.

A 25-time Italy international, the attacker said he was prepared to return amid interest from two Serie A clubs, including Roma.

"There was the possibility of returning to Italy," El Shaarawy told Fabio Cannavaro during an Instagram Live chat on Sunday, via Corriere dello Sport.

"When the virus broke out, I had spoken to the club saying that I needed to play to earn a place in the European Championship.

"Having already had a great consideration from [Italy coach Roberto] Mancini despite my move to China, I was ready to return to play regularly, but then nothing was done.

"There had been contacts with two teams. One was Roma."

The coronavirus pandemic saw the European Championship pushed back to 2021.

El Shaarawy featured in two qualifiers for the tournament, scoring once.

Italian sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora has reiterated Serie A team training will still not resume before May 18, despite the government allowing players to return to club facilities from Monday.

A statement from Italy's Home Office on Sunday declared individual athletes - including those who play for teams - can undertake sports activities again, provided they maintain social distancing.

On Saturday, Sassuolo became the first Serie A club to confirm they would be going back to training since the season was halted due to the coronavirus crisis.

Others in the top tier have since followed suit, including Inter, who will make pitches at their Appiano Gentile available to first-team squad members, albeit on a voluntary basis.

"The resumption of competitive activities will be determined and communicated as soon as the relevant regulatory framework is finalised," Inter said in a statement. 

"All the other areas of the centre will remain closed with the exception of the on-site health and technical facility, which is required to ensure a safe environment and safeguard the athletes."

It is also reported table-topping Juventus - who sit one point clear of nearest rivals Lazio at the summit - have asked their players who are currently abroad to return to Italy, allowing them to undergo a period of isolation ahead of a potential resumption.

However, Spadafora had made clear full training will not be allowed before the country's lockdown measures expire on May 17. 

"I read strange things around but nothing has changed compared to what I have always said about football: the teams' training will not resume before 18 May and the resumption of the championship for now is not really talked about," he wrote on Facebook.

"Now sorry but I'm going back to deal with all the other sports and sports centres (gyms, dance centres, swimming pools, etc) that must reopen as soon as possible!"

Italy has been one of the countries to suffer the most during the health crisis, with over 28,000 deaths related to COVID-19.

Jonjo Shelvey is talented enough to play for Barcelona and would "blow teams away", according to Newcastle United team-mate Matt Ritchie.

Shelvey, who won the last of his six England caps in 2015, is a key man at Newcastle, having joined the club from Swansea City in 2016 after struggling to establish himself at Liverpool.

The midfielder had joined Liverpool from Charlton Athletic in 2010 as an 18-year-old.

But winger Ritchie claims Shelvey could be turning out for Barca or Real Madrid if he had the desire to focus on his game.

The ex-Bournemouth man revealed "mad" Shelvey instead plays golf for Northumberland and takes to the course three times a week.

Ritchie told the In The Box podcast: "For me, I've said to him so many times, 'If you just got your head down, focused solely on football and forgot about golf and whatever else...'

"It's true, though, isn't it? He's mad. He'll play golf three times a week, and I'm like, 'Jonj, you can't do that'. He's like, 'No, no, I feel better, Matty'. I'm like, 'That's impossible'.

"But what a player, what a player. I've been at Newcastle now for four years, and I've honestly seen him inside a box [rondo] no more than 10 times. That's how good he is - and we do boxes every day.

"This guy has the natural ability to just see passes, to receive the ball, to move the ball.

"I remember playing against him as a kid. I think he was 14 - we were playing Charlton Under-16s at Portsmouth - and I think he scored a hat-trick. He was unbelievable.

"Obviously, he's got his moves and he's ended up at Newcastle. But I say to him very regular: 'Jonj, if you had your head screwed on, you could play for Barcelona so easily.'

"He's that good, isn't he? He is, though. He's that good.

"He's got everything, he's got the short one, and at Newcastle now, he hits longer passes and tougher passes and he's the one we look to to open teams up and create.

"But - and this is no disrespect to us at Newcastle - I feel like if he was playing for a Barcelona or Real Madrid, you could imagine he'd blow teams away with his ability.

"You've got to have everything in the right place, and he likes his golf too much, doesn't he?

"He says to me, 'I know Matty, but this is what I'm like, this is what I'm like'. Imagine if you wanted to. You could."

Shelvey, who earned the last of his six England caps in 2015, is Newcastle's top scorer in the Premier League this season with five goals from midfield.

The 28-year-old has been criticised for a lack of discipline in the past and was sent off twice in the 2017-18 campaign, having led the Magpies to promotion from the Championship the previous season.

Borja Valero urged Inter team-mate Lautaro Martinez to ignore Barcelona's advances and stay at San Siro as he hailed the Argentina forward.

Martinez has been the subject of consistent transfer speculation this season, with Barca said to be interested in Lionel Messi's international colleague.

The 22-year-old has scored 16 goals in all competitions for the Nerazzurri this season, starring alongside Romelu Lukaku.

After netting just nine times in the entirety of the 2018-19 campaign, Valero believes Martinez is Inter's most improved player.

And the ex-Fiorentina midfielder wants Martinez to remain in Milan.

"From year to year, he is the one who has improved the most," Valero told Gazzetta dello Sport. "In addition to scoring, he does an extraordinary job for the team."

As for why Martinez should stay at Inter rather than go to Barcelona, Valero said: "Here we have a very important project. It is clear to everyone. To make it happen, we need him to be with us."

Valero expects January signing Christian Eriksen to follow Martinez in showing signs of progress once he has settled at Inter.

"He only arrived this season," Valero said. "A week before, he was still playing for Tottenham. Then he had changed the league, country, language, training system.

"It is not easy to get used to it quickly. When he was gearing up, the season was suspended. He has everything to lift Inter. He just needs time."

Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman underwent successful heart surgery on Sunday.

Koeman, a Dutch great who starred for the Oranje from the early late 1980s and into the 1990s, was reportedly dealt with by specialists in Amsterdam.

According to De Telegraaf, Koeman was taken to the University Medical Centre (UMC) in the city and underwent treatment that involved unblocking a coronary artery and a stent being put into the vein.

De Telegraaf, which said it had its information confirmed by Koeman's wife Bartina and agent Rob Jansen, reported the 57-year-old was in a stable condition.

A statement issued by Jansen's Wasserman agency later confirmed his client had been operated on and would return home on Monday.

"Ronald Koeman was hospitalized tonight (Sunday evening) after chest complaints. The 57-year-old national team coach of the Dutch national team has undergone a successful cardiac catheterization and will return home tomorrow," it read.

The Dutch football association (KNVB) posted a message of support on Twitter, stating: "That is a shock. Fortunately things are going better again. Much strength and improvement, coach."

Koeman enjoyed a stellar playing career at club level with Groningen, Ajax, PSV, Barcelona and Feyenoord, before turning to coaching.

He had spells in charge of Ajax, PSV, Benfica, Southampton, Feyenoord, Valencia and Everton, becoming Netherlands head coach in 2018.

Koeman led his country to second place at the inaugural Nations League Finals in 2019 and sealed qualification for Euro 2020, with the tournament since pushed back a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Timo Werner should think long and hard about whether a move away from RB Leipzig might reduce his playing opportunities, according to Ralf Rangnick.

Former Leipzig head coach Rangnick, who now works for the club's owners, Red Bull as head of sport and development, would welcome Werner staying put and remaining in the Bundesliga.

But Rangnick says the Germany striker is not irreplaceable and predicted Leipzig would be able to cope should Werner decide to leave at the end of this season.

Liverpool are among the clubs who have been linked with the in-demand 24-year-old, who indicated in recent days that he would rather move abroad than join potential suitors Bayern Munich.

"I know his family and that of his girlfriend and his agent very well," Rangnick said.

"He has continued to develop, especially in terms of his strike rate, and could take another leap under [Leipzig coach] Julian Nagelsmann and his colleagues. I would be happy if he stayed."

Speaking to German newspaper Mitteldeutsche Zeitung, Rangnick added: "In my opinion, RB Leipzig are so well positioned that he can be replaced.

"Timo will carefully consider whether he has the opportunity to play as regularly as is the case here at another club."

Juventus intend to keep Paulo Dybala "for as long as possible" and Gonzalo Higuain for the 2020-21 season, while Giorgio Chiellini and Gianluigi Buffon are set for contract extensions.

With Cristiano Ronaldo now the standout star in the Bianconeri team, fellow forwards Dybala and Higuain have repeatedly been linked with moves away from Turin.

Dybala was a reported target for Manchester United and Tottenham last year, while Higuain had appeared set for a permanent departure at the same stage as he returned from unsuccessful loan spells with Milan and then Chelsea.

The Argentina attackers have netted 21 Juve goals between them in all competitions this season, however, and sporting director Fabio Paratici is keen to see both men stay at the Bianconeri, who led Lazio by a point at the top of the Serie A table when the season was suspended in March.

Discussing potential new deals - including those for out-of-contract veterans Chiellini and Buffon - Paratici told Sky Sport Italia: "Chiellini and Buffon are in the pipeline.

"For Dybala, I think this pause has stopped our communications a little bit. But our will is to make him stay with us for as long as possible."

Dybala's deal runs out in 2022, but the club have been in talks over a new agreement for much of the 2019-20 season.

Meanwhile, Higuain, 32, is out of contract at the end of next season, yet Juventus are not looking to let the ex-Napoli striker depart early.

Paratici added: "Higuain left [Italy] and was very worried in general [about the coronavirus pandemic]. Gonzalo is a very sensitive boy and this thing struck him a lot.

"We are tied to him. He has had an extraordinary season. We hope for him to continue with us for the year that remains in the contract."

Ralf Rangnick has confirmed interest from Serie A giants Milan but revealed "a lot would have to come together" for him to consider a coaching comeback.

The former Stuttgart, Schalke and RB Leipzig boss is now head of sport and development for Red Bull, the group which owns Leipzig.

He has been linked for several months with the Milan top job and has previously spoken of "loose enquiries" from San Siro chiefs.

Stefano Pioli has yet to full convince at Milan since signing a two-year contract to coach the team last October, which has fuelled the Rangnick talk.

"There has been an interest," Rangnick said. "But with the coronavirus there have been other things to consider besides thinking whether Rangnick is the right man for them - and Milan something for me."

Speaking to German newspaper Mitteldeutsche Zeitung, the 61-year-old Rangnick addressed the issue of whether he had a future in coaching.

And he indicated he would only take another job on his terms, insisting he would need his voice to be heard.

"That would depend on the club in question. But that's all hypothetical," he said.

"I've been living in Leipzig for six years, I feel extremely comfortable here and I can very well imagine staying here longer. A lot would have to come together to think about something else."

Rangnick added: "I'm not interested in financial aspects. For me it's about: Do you feel that you have a certain influence? And it's not so much about power, even if you need it in certain situations to get certain things going."

Serie A clubs can welcome players back to their training grounds from Monday after being given the go-ahead by the Italian government.

A decree issued by the Emilia-Romagna region on Thursday opened the door for Sassuolo, SPAL, Bologna and Parma to train from May 4. On Saturday, Sassuolo became the first team to confirm they would return to training.

Roma followed in their footsteps, and now the rest of the teams in Italy's top flight can prepare for a potential resumption of the season following a government decree that permits players to train individually at their clubs, respecting social distancing rules.

The Clubs and Players' Association had argued it was safer to run inside a training ground than in local parks, as social distancing can be guaranteed.

A statement from Italy's Home Office read: "On the basis of a systematic reading of the various provisions, supported by a shared orientation in the inter-ministerial forum, it is believed that sport activities are allowed for individual athletes, both professional and non-professional, of non-individual disciplines, like every citizen, in public or private areas, respecting the interpersonal safety distance of at least two metres and respecting the prohibition of any form of assembly."

The decree will be in force until May 17, the day Italy's lockdown measures expire.

The 2019-20 Serie A season has been suspended since March due to the COVID-19 crisis, which has seen over 28,000 people die in Italy.

Juventus are top of Serie A, the defending champions leading Lazio by a point.

Jose Mourinho will have mixed memories about May 3 down the years.

The Portuguese endured European disappointment with Chelsea and Real Madrid on this date during his coaching career, but also clinched domestic success in his second stint with the Blues.

Derrick Rose would also be forgiven for having bittersweet feelings, considering it marks the anniversary of a personal milestone achieved before injury issues struck.

Take a look back at some of the momentous moments in sport that have occurred previously on this day.


2005: 'Ghost' goal sends Liverpool through

Did it cross the line? Luis Garcia certainly thought so after prodding the ball towards the Chelsea goal in the second leg of their all-English Champions League semi-final with Liverpool.

After a 0-0 scoreline at Stamford Bridge, the Spaniard seized on a loose ball in the fourth minute at Anfield after Milan Baros had collided with visiting goalkeeper Petr Cech.

William Gallas' clearance led Chelsea to believe they had escaped, but the goal was given. The Reds stood firm for the remainder of an absorbing contest as Mourinho's Premier League champions suffered an agonising defeat by the barest of margins.

"The linesman scored the goal. No one knows if that shot went over the line and you must be 100 per cent," Mourinho said afterwards. Liverpool, of course, went on to lift the trophy, beating Milan on an unforgettable night in Istanbul.

2011: Rose follows in Jordan's footsteps

Drafted first by his hometown Chicago Bulls, Rose ended his third season in the NBA by being crowned the league's MVP at 22.

The point guard averaged 25 points, 7.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds to become the youngest player to receive the honour, finishing comfortably ahead of Dwight Howard in the voting. 

He became just the second Bulls player to be named MVP, following in the footsteps of the legendary Michael Jordan. Chicago finished with a 62-20 regular season record and went on to lose to LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The following campaign, after signing a lucrative contract extension, Rose suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during the playoffs. He was sidelined for over a year.

2011: Barca book Wembley trip

More European misery for Mourinho, as this time his Real Madrid side missed out on the Champions League final. To make matters worse, it was arch-rivals Barcelona who denied them.

The Catalan side had won 2-0 in a feisty first meeting in the Spanish capital, giving them breathing space ahead of the return at Camp Nou. Gonzalo Higuain had a goal ruled out for Madrid before the hosts extended their advantage, Pedro providing the finish.

Marcelo equalised in the second half but Mourinho - serving a suspension after being sent off in the opening leg for complaining about a red card shown to Pepe - still saw his side exit 3-1 on aggregate. 

2015: Hazard helps Blues cruise over the line

Better times for Jose in 2015, then. Back in charge at the Bridge, he steered Chelsea to Premier League glory again, this time with three games to spare.

A 1-0 triumph over Crystal Palace was enough to be confirmed as champions, Eden Hazard heading in the rebound after his penalty had been saved by Julian Speroni to grab the only goal of the contest shortly before half-time.

"Finally we can breathe, relax and enjoy," a jaded Mourinho said in the aftermath, having also clinched the EFL Cup earlier in the campaign.

Still, he did not have to wait long for a break. Following a disastrous start to their title defence, Chelsea sacked him, bringing in Guus Hiddink as interim boss.

Marseille head coach Andre Villas-Boas revelled in the club's second-place finish behind Paris Saint-Germain after the Ligue 1 season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.

PSG were declared champions, ahead of Marseille, after the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) confirmed final standings will be decided on a points-per-game basis for the 2019-20 season.

Marseille were 12 points behind PSG – enough to secure a runners-up position and Champions League berth – when the campaign was postponed in March through 28 games.

Villas-Boas dedicated the achievement to former Marseille president Pape Diouf, who died aged 68 in March after contracting COVID-19.

Portuguese boss Villas-Boas wrote via Instagram: "Runners-up of France! What to say? Which words to choose? Where to start? What an extraordinary feat!

"So many moments of joy, so many explosions of feelings! Summarising this season between brilliance and exceptional moments is too easy because it has been so for several consecutive games.

"What has marked and often marks the teams of choice is the ability to reinvent themselves in the face of adversity, whether it is when it hits bottom or when dreams escape us. We were a group! We were a team. We knew we were consistent and had the right word and the right reaction to each other.

"This state of mind is felt on a daily basis in communion with everyone. The other's problem is my problem. It was like that every step of the way. Thank you all without exception. To my brilliant and unrivalled players who, with a lot of effort and selflessness, gave everything in every game.

"To Frank McCourt and Jacques Henri-Eyraud. To Andoni Zubizarreta and Albert Valentin who brought me to this wonderful city of Marseille and allowed me to know the strength of the Velodrome and the unique passion of its inhabitants.

"To my staff, travel friends, my kings of skills. To the decisive and tolerant medical staff who have achieved unique results this season. Administrative and logistics staff attentive to every detail. To Rani who is always everywhere to solve problems. To Elodie who has a crazy Portuguese by her side. To everyone who participated in this wonderful trip, thank you.

"In this sensation and this desire to burst out in joy, we are called to reason which alerts us to the sad moment we are living. We would trade all victories and trophies for each of the lives lost. To the fans who are currently overwhelmed by these same sensations, who want to cry out with joy but where the tear persists in retaining passion, thank you! Thank you from the heart! Your strength and your sense of demand forced us to respond. This victory is also yours. I would like to finish by dedicating this second place to the former Marseille president Pape Diouf."

Cologne midfielder Birger Verstraete said it is "bizarre" that the Bundesliga side are still training after three positive tests for coronavirus.

On Friday, Cologne announced three unspecified people at the club contracted COVID-19 amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought the Bundesliga and sport to a standstill globally.

The trio – which reportedly consists of two players and a physio – were consequently told to undergo a 14-day quarantine procedure.

Cologne will continue with their training programme, with a decision on the potential resumption of the Bundesliga set to be made on May 6.

But Belgian Verstraete is concerned, telling VTM: "What the club communicated, that nobody has come into contact with the players is correct, in the literal sense of the word, that is.

"But the physiotherapist is the man who treated me and other players for weeks. And I formed a duo in the gym on Thursday with one of the two players in question. So to say we did not come into contact with them at all is not entirely correct.

"I hope it stays with three people, but I also keep in mind that the virus has spread."

Verstraete, 26, added: "We aren't quarantined for the time being, and that's a bit bizarre.

"At the moment football is not the most important place for me, especially because it is getting so close now. I had previously seen images of intensive care. And now it appears that the virus is also close to us. So it's bit strange that everything just keeps going."

Germany's top two divisions were suspended on March 13, with Cologne 10th in the Bundesliga – five points adrift of Schalke in the last European qualification spot.

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen insisted he is "very happy" at the LaLiga champions, despite putting contract negotiations on hold.

Ter Stegen's current deal expires at the end of the 2021-22 season and the Germany international has been linked with Bundesliga holders Bayern Munich amid doubts over Manuel Neuer's future in Bavaria.

Despite question marks over his own future, Ter Stegen said now is not the time to discuss a new contract due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We have already had the first conversations," Ter Stegen said during an Instagram Live with former club Borussia Monchengladbach.

"But as I said, we have parked it. There are much more important things.

"I am very happy here and the sporting situation is good, the team is doing well. What more can I ask for?"

Ter Stegen joined Barca from Bundesliga outfit Monchengladbach in 2014.

Since arriving at Camp Nou, the 28-year-old has won four LaLiga titles and the Champions League among other honours.

Barca were two points clear of bitter rivals Real Madrid through 27 matches when LaLiga was suspended amid the COVID-19 crisis in March.

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