Aston Villa’s goalkeeper Pepe Reina has revealed he endured “endless minutes of fear” after contracting coronavirus symptoms that left him unable to breathe. The 37-year-old said he was on the mend after “the worst moments of my life”.
Reina, on loan at Villa from Napoli, told Corriere dello Sport: “It is only now that I am winning the battle against the coronavirus.” He began to feel unwell nearly two weeks ago.
“I was very tired after experiencing the first symptoms of the virus,” he said. “A fever, dry cough and a headache that never went away. It was just that constant feeling of tiredness.
“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.
“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.”
He said staying at home, at least, was no chore for him. “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.”
Last week, when he first announced that he suspected he had caught the virus, he said: “We are very privileged people. We have a big house, with a garden. I think of the people who live in a 70 sq m apartment with two children and for me they are people who are showing a lot of strength.”
The Premier League has been suspended since 13 March and Reina has previously said it was “crazy” not to have stopped matches sooner.