Soccer: Italian Linari tells of COVID-19 life in Spain

Atletico Madrid player tells ANSA of adaptation to coronavirus

(ANSA) - Rome, April 13 - The 26-year-old Italian female footballer Elena Linari discussed living in Spain in this period as a professional athlete amid the global COVID-19 pandemic. Lipari, who plays for Atletico Madrid, told ANSA that "initially I was frustrated, I would almost say disgusted, by how here they hadn't learn their lesson from Italy", which was hit hard first by deaths linked to the novel coronavirus, but "I was excited to see workers go back to their worksites in front of my home after a three-week halt". Linari, who also plays on the Italian national team under Milena Bertolini and who helped make women's football more popular last summer even in Italy, told ANSA via an online interview from Spain, that she had chosen "Spain because I did not feel free to be myself in Italy. There, if you play football and you are a woman, with all due respect you are 'wasting time'." "On March 11 we interrupted the Algarve Cup with Italy and I came back here, where I have been living for a year and a half," she said calling the situation "paradoxical" since whereas severe restrictions had been placed on Italy, "here people were just walking around normally, without even a mask". But now "things are better", she said. Linari told ANSA that she was doing yoga and that she was being helped by a trainer from the Atletico team, who "gives me a program and twice a week we meet up in a videochat. Spanish football is developing personalised programs for us women footballers. The menstrual cycle is a decisive factor. In Barcelona they do hormone testing and regulate training on this basis." Nonetheless, she added, "we play and train in a male way, which is not easy. The important thing is to talk about it normally, like the time I didn't have my period for three months and then I had a very heavy, painful one. Speaking clearly about this with the coach was key to resolving it." Linari is also in the frontline of the battle for equal pay and rights for women footballers.


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