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Flamengo boss Jesus receives 'weak or inconclusive positive' coronavirus test result

3:54 AM GMT+4 17/03/2020
Jorge Jesus Flamengo 2019
The Portuguese coach, who has lost a friend to the disease, is under the care of the club's medical staff as the result of his test is checked

Flamengo manager Jorge Jesus has received a “weak or inconclusive positive” test result for the Covid-19 coronavirus, the Brazilian club have confirmed.

Jesus, 65, had previously urged Brazilian football to be suspended due to the ongoing global pandemic, and revealed he had lost friends in Europe to the virus.

A club statement said Jesus was in a stable state of health and was under the care of Flamengo’s medical department while the result was checked.

Players and staff at the club tested negative, with the tests conducted on Monday, March 15.

Speaking to Fla TV after his side’s 2-1 win over Portuguesa RJ on Saturday, Jesus said: “I am Portuguese, I know pretty well what’s going on Portugal.

“I have lost a friend… this coronavirus is not a joke. I didn’t have an idea what this was but I am realising it now.

“We need to understand here in Brazil that this is not just happening in other countries.”

Jesus said his side had been affected psychologically by the spread of the coronavirus, adding he hadn’t enjoyed the spectacle of seeing his players perform behind closed doors.

"I have never played without supporters,” he said.

“I hope this was the first and the last time. It's a distressing thing. It's bothering. That's the ultimate proof that there's no way of playing without them.”

Jesus has enjoyed incredible success in a short period of time since taking over at Flamengo in 2019.

His side won a Brazilian Serie A and Copa Libertadores double last year, followed by the Supercopa do Brasil and Recopa Sudamericana.

Jesus was not the only figure calling for football in Brazil to be suspended. Ahead of their match with Sao Luiz on Sunday, Gremio players took to the pitch wearing facemasks in protest at being made to play as the virus spreads.

“This protest by the players makes implicit our support for the championship to be halted - life must take precedence," said Gremio’s director of football, Paulo Luz.

Manager Renato Portaluppi added: "The whole world has stopped - shouldn't Brazilian football stop as well? That's our message and I hope they listen. We hope that good sense will prevail."