Fiorentina heads into the international break with a sour taste in the mouth after an entirely avoidable loss to Juventus. A big part of that loss was the continued absence of winger Nicolás González, who remains out with coronavirus after initially testing positive a couple weeks ago; as far and away the most dynamic attacker on the team, his pace and ability to beat his man was conspicuously absent from the XI.
Despite the fact that he’s been in quarantine since his positive test, Lionel Scaloni called him up for Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Brazil. While the Albiceleste, also missing Lionel Messi, could use González in a big way, he’s pretty obviously not going to be cleared to travel and is set to miss out; it’s rather odd that Scaloni would even bother selecting someone who’s very unavailable and may even miss the AC Milan game, according to the always reliable Andrea Giannattasio.
Nicolas #Gonzalez è ancora positivo al #Covid19. Di fatto è impossibile che prenda parte alle gare con l'@Argentina. Si attende solo l'annuncio della sua "sconvocazione". Ma onestamente penso che inizi ad essere complesso vederlo titolare anche contro il @acmilan @acffiorentina— Andrea Giannattasio (@giannattasius) November 9, 2021
It’s a good reminder that, even as fans return to the stadia and we begin to act as if life is returning to normal, there is a FUCKING GLOBAL PANDEMIC still raging. For context’s sake, there are still thousands of new cases in Italy every day and over 100,000 active cases; there are still dozens of deaths from it every day. The numbers are just as concerning around the world.
As athletes (and other people) ignore the vast body of research on the subject in favor of “doing their own research”—and watching 20 minutes of YouTube videos does not outweigh decades of expertise in the field of epidemiology—let’s not dismiss Nico’s case as a minor inconvenience like any other injury absence. It’s emblematic of an ongoing global crisis.
That said, let’s also not lose sight of González’ individual experience. He’s only recently broken into the Argentina setup and is clearly thrilled with his role with the national team. With Messi out, this could’ve been his chance to establish himself as a star. Instead, he’s stuck at home, unable to train, and likely bored out of his mind. For all we know, he may be suffering serious health effects. It’s scary, especially for someone whose body is their career. All he (and we) can do right now is hope for a quick and full recovery.