Footballing great Pepe Reina has revealed he feared for his life as coronavirus left him struggling to breathe at one point.
The on-loan Aston Villa goalkeeper reported earlier this month that he believes he contracted the disease after displaying some symptoms.
And speaking to Corriere dello Sport, the 37-year-old has opened up about his terrifying experience of Covid-19 – stating that he was in ‘endless minutes of fear.’
‘I am winning the battle against coronavirus only now,’ he told the Italian publication.
‘The most difficult moment was when I could no longer breathe, the 25 minutes I ran out of oxygen. It was the worst moments of my life.
‘I don’t miss the company as it’s me, my wife Yolanda, five children and two in-laws. The house is big and loneliness has no access to my home.
‘I was very tired after experiencing the first symptoms of the virus. A fever, dry cough and a headache that never left me – it was just that constant feeling of tiredness.
‘The only real fear I had was when I understood that there was no oxygen: endless minutes of fear, as if suddenly my throat had closed.
‘As a result I spent the first six or eight days indoors.’
The Spaniard – who is on loan at Villa Park from AC Milan, said he took the necessary precautions after he started to feel unwell the week before, despite not being tested.
‘It was my turn togo through the bug last week,’ Reina told Spanish radio station Cope. ‘It has been a different week, of taking precautions not to infect the people who live with me.
‘Speaking to the doctors, the symptoms I had were of it, without official confirmation of it but everything pointed to it.’
Reina, who joined Villa in January, also said it was ‘not important’ to finish the season, even though the Premier League are desperately looking for a way to conclude it.
The global health crisis means football will not restart in this country until at least April 30, and resuming on that date also looks highly unlikely.
Reina said: ‘Football takes a back seat. I don’t care much, really. Everyone’s well-being goes above anything else. I will be a supporter of playing when everything is in the best conditions, that everyone is safe.
‘Football cannot be a priority right now. It is not important to finish this league. I know and am aware of all the interests that exist around soccer, especially economic ones. But there are also many other areas, and right now the first thing is people’s health.
‘April 30 as an option for the Premier to return seems to me that it will not be a real date and I think we are going to go much further.
‘But it will be time that dictates the moment. When we are all safe it will be time to take action and set dates. So far, it is useless to talk and predict any return option.’