AC Milan Star’s Positive Test Highlights Soccer’s Virus Uptick

AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, one of soccer’s biggest stars, tested positive for Covid-19 Thursday, according to astatement from the team.

Milan on Wednesday had already confirmed defender Léo Duartetested positive for COVID-19 following a swab test on Sept. 22, and a second round of tests confirmed Ibrahimovic as positive, the club said on its website.

Flareups of infections across Europe have spurred fears of a second wave, and while some local authorities are allowing fans toattend matches in reduced numbers, cases among players are on the rise. Last season, in the English Premier League, considered the world’s strongest and the biggest by revenue, 15 rounds of tests covering more than 1,000 players and staff each resulted in a mere 20 positive results. In the new season, three rounds since Aug. 31 showed 10 positive results already.

The cases are casting doubt on hopes for a return to normalcy. Europe’s biggest leagues went into hiatus as a consequence of the pandemic, and many finished with games played behind closed doors, including the Champions League.

In England, a match between Tottenham Hotspur andLeyton Orient scheduled for Tuesday was canceled after an unspecified number of players from the fourth-flight team tested positive for Covid-19. Last month in France, the Ligue 1 season opener between Marseille and Saint Etienne waspostponed afterthree Marseille players tested positive.

Ibrahimovic is one of the sports most dazzling figures due to his scoring record even at age 38, his extroversion and his stint with LA Galaxy. In January he returned to Milan, where he already played between 2010 and 2012, to help the seven-time Champions League winners attempt to end Juventus’ run of nine consecutive Serie A titles.

Italyreported 1,786 new cases Thursday, compared with 1,640 the previous day and amid increased screening, with more than 108,000 tests in one day. Patients in intensive care units rose to 246 and 23 deaths were reported.

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