Cristiano Ronaldo returns to Italy to finish COVID-19 isolation period

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring a goal against Lithuania. (Mindaugas Kulbis/AP)

Cristiano Ronaldo was back in Italy after testing positive for the coronavirus in Portugal.

The Juventus forward travelled on a "medical flight" from Lisbon to Turin on Wednesday to finish his isolation period.

"Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Italy with a medical flight authorised by the competent health authorities at the request of the player and will continue his fiduciary isolation at his home," Juventus said in a statement.

The Portuguese daily Record had earlier showed images of the small jet-engine plane it said was used by Ronaldo. The white, blue and red aircraft had the word "ambulance" painted on its engines.

The 35-year-old Ronaldo had been separated from the rest of the Portugal group after testing positive for COVID-19 on Monday. He was said to be asymptomatic and in good health condition.

Ronaldo tested positive two days before the team's Nations League match against Sweden in Lisbon. He was dropped from the squad after another test on Tuesday confirmed the positive result. He had played in the Nations League match against France on Sunday, and against Spain in a friendly last week.

No one else in the Portuguese squad had tested positive ahead of Wednesday's match against Sweden, which it won 3-0 with a pair of goals by Ronaldo's replacement Diogo Jota. Ronaldo posted a photo on his social media accounts with him wearing Portugal's jersey in front of a television set with the game on.

"It's as if I was there," he wrote.

Ronaldo began his isolation at the team's training centre on Monday. Images published by Portuguese media on Tuesday showed him on a balcony overlooking his teammates practicing at the training centre. In one of the photos, he was shown giving the thumbs-up sign.

Before the Monday test result was known, Ronaldo posted a photo showing him and the rest of the Portugal squad having a meal together. The players were all close to each other at a table, with a smiling Ronaldo apparently taking the photo at the front end.

The Portuguese soccer federation showed images of the players walking while wearing masks on Wednesday. Two other Portugal players, Jose Fonte and Anthony Lopes, tested positive for COVID-19 recently.

Ronaldo was likely to miss Juventus' Serie A match at Crotone on Saturday and the team's Champions League opener at Dynamo Kyiv on Tuesday. And depending on his condition and the results of future tests, he could also miss the much-anticipated match against Barcelona on Oct. 28.

Juventus had been in isolation following positive tests for two staff members, but Ronaldo and six other players were allowed to leave and join their national teams. On Wednesday, midfielder Weston Mckennie tested positive for the virus and Juventus said its players and staff will go back into isolation in the club hotel in the evening.

Other soccer players who have tested positive for COVID-19 recently include Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba, Paulo Dybala, Angel Di Maria, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Diego Costa.

The Portuguese government on Wednesday announced new restrictions to help contain a surge in coronavirus cases.

When submitting content, please abide by our  submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.