Real Madrid warns fans not to gather in celebration spots

Sports

MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid is asking its fans to stay away from the team’s usual celebration spots in Madrid if it wins the Spanish league title.

The request came a day after Madrid defeated Granada 2-1 to move within two points of its first league trophy in three years. A victory against Villarreal on Thursday will be enough to secure the team’s 34th league title. Madrid is four points ahead of second-place Barcelona with two rounds to go.

“We are all aware of the difficult situation that we are experiencing and the efforts being made across society to counter the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the club said in a statement Thursday. “Football is also playing its part in this and, with everyone’s help, we managed to resume the competition in extremely complex circumstances.

“All of us must make a contribution, as has been the case to date, and show the utmost responsibility to avoid the risk of contagion,” the club said.

Madrid said its players also will not visit the celebration spots, which include the Plaza de Cibeles in the Spanish capital.

“Real Madrid thanks our members and supporters in advance for their understanding,” the statement said. “All of the effort and work put in by our players, coaching staff and the club towards this possible title success has always been done with a view to sharing the triumph with our fans, but we are aware that the current situation obliges us to maximize the necessary precautionary measures.”

Madrid said it felt “the duty to issue this important call in a show of utmost responsibility and with the firm belief that any possible triumph involving our team must not give rise to a massive backward step in the battle we are all waging against this pandemic.”

Spain was one of the hardest-hit countries by the coronavirus pandemic, with nearly 250,000 confirmed cases and more than 28,000 deaths.

Barcelona won the league title in eight of the last 11 seasons, including the last two. Madrid’s last triumph was in 2017.

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