Real Madrid made their move to help out Chinese Super League side Wuhan Zillow after the team from the epicentre of the coronavirus have been stranded in Spain following a pre-season training camp.
Wuhan headed to the Spanish capital to test their abilities in Europe and prepare for the upcoming Chinese season, before getting caught up in the throes of the coronavirus outbreak which has dominated the headlines.
After being effectively stranded in the Spanish capital awaiting the green light to return home, the entire team and management staff were invited to El Clasico by Real Madrid yesterday.
“It’s really a well-deserved reward for them,’ Jose Gonzalez, the team’s Spanish coach, told The Associated Press in an interview.
‘It will be an experience that without a doubt they will never forget. They have been training and training day after day, distracted by the situation back home, so it will be a nice break for them to watch a game like this between Real Madrid and Barcelona.’
The players have had a difficult time as a result out the virus outbreak, having been away from their family and friends for more than two months.
One of the players has lost a family member to the virus, and the act of keeping the squad in the Spanish capital had caused panic among the local community.
The full Wuhan side were repeatedly tested before concerns were put to one side, and the athletes were cleared as fit and healthy.
Wuhan Zall arrived in Spain at the end of January but previously practiced in the Chinese city of Guanghzou, nearly 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) away from Wuhan.
Although the team was far from the initial outbreak, Spanish health authorities had to come out publicly to say there was no reason for local citizens to be concerned about the squad’s arrival.
Three players arrived from China later and had to stay in quarantine and be tested for the virus before joining the rest of the group.
Once the club finally return home, their final flight destination is the very origin of where coronavirus began, understood to have emerged from the wet markets of the Wuhan district.
At present the virus has killed more than 2,800 people worldwide, most of them in China.
This weekend matches across the Italian Serie A top flight have been cancelled as a precautionary measure for the spread of coronavirus, with the potential title clash between Juventus and Inter Milan moved to May 13 along with four other matches.
Next month’s World Triathlon Series event in Abu Dhabi has become the latest to be postponed as a precautionary measure.
The event was due to take place from March 5 to March 7 in the city, which has reported new cases of the virus.
Event organisers said they still hoped to reschedule the event to take place later in March or April.