Diego Llorente on his false positive: “I didn’t even know what to think. I hardly slept that night, I just kept thinking about it.”

Diego Llorente, alongside Sergio Busquets, tested positive for covid-19 this week to throw La Roja’s preparations for Euro 2020 into chaos. Luis Enrique was hoping to lead his team into their final warm-up game against Lithuania at Butarque mid-week, only for the U21 team to play instead of the seniors and win 4-0.

Llorente, of Leeds United, spoke to the media on Saturday to explain what happened. His positive, unlike Busquets’, was a false positive, so he rejoined the group on Friday.

“I want to thank all the people who have been thinking of me and my condition,” he said in comments carried by Marca. “First the president, who called me when I was in the ambulance, and also Luis Enrique and his coaching staff and my colleagues. The welcome they gave me yesterday was very special are some difficult days.”

The moment he was taken away in an ambulance was tough. “It was a difficult moment to describe,” he said. “I didn’t even know what to think. I hardly slept that night, I just kept thinking about it. I wasn’t someone who’d been in close contact with Busquets; I couldn’t find an explanation. The first hours were devastating, to feel like you’re going to miss out [on Euro 2020] for something you’d never expect. I leaned on my people, on my wife.”

Llorente will, however, be fit and available to be selected by Luis Enrique for La Roja’s opener on Monday evening, when they play Sweden at La Cartuja in Seville. Spain are in Group E, alongside Poland and Slovakia as well as Sweden. They’ll fancy their chances.

The Spanish squad were vaccinated by the Armed Forces on Friday at Las Rozas, with players who’d already received one dose getting the Pfizer vaccine and those who were yet to receive anything getting the Janssen. They’re not the favourite to win Euro 2020; that honour falls to France, who won the World Cup in 2018 and boast a strong squad.

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