Coronavirus: Bayern star Martinez warns injury risk has shot up


Bayern Munich star Javi Martinez has sounded a warning that players risk injury more than ever because of the coronavirus interruption to the season.

Leagues across much of Europe have resumed or are on the point of doing so after a long suspension caused by the pandemic.

Players have for the large part been hunkered down at home since March, unable to take part in full training sessions until recent weeks and missing the routine of matches.

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That concerns Spanish midfielder Martinez, who believes footballers have become increasingly vulnerable to getting hurt.

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi and Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic are among the big-name players who have suffered recent injury setbacks.

"I am a player who needs match rhythm. The dynamics of playing every few days is not ideal. We don't have a run of training sessions to reach peak form," Martinez told Marca.

"It's easier now to get injuries because we've stopped for longer than ever before and we haven't had a normal pre-season.

"I'm doing quite well and if the coach wants me I believe I'll be ready.

"And the hot weather's coming. Tell me how you can play in Seville on July 6 or 7."

That aspect will not directly affect Martinez but shows his sympathy for the LaLiga stars who could face difficult playing conditions during the Spanish summer.

Martinez is poised to win another Bundesliga title with Bayern, with his arrival in 2012 from Athletic Bilbao having coincided with the start of a period of startling dominance.

An eighth straight title is almost within Bayern's grasp, given their seven-point lead over Borussia Dortmund with five games to go, but Martinez is struggling to enjoy putting the finishing touches to a successful campaign behind closed doors.

And when Bayern went to Dortmund for a crucial game in the Bundesliga last week, Martinez was taken aback by the near-total absence of anyone in and around the stadium.

That is the necessity given concerns about the spread of COVID-19, but Martinez said: "I don't like it. I am very passionate. I need to be yelled at, even if it's to tell me everything. To go to the pitches of Betis or the Bernabeu and have a thousand people telling you about everything. That motivates me.

"My soul fell to my feet when I arrived at Dortmund and saw five people there with their bikes. But I understand that it was necessary to continue."

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