By Richard Martin
BARCELONA (Reuters) - Lionel Messi believes he is better off not thinking too much about the risk of being infected by the coronavirus as Spanish soccer clubs step up their return to activity, saying he looks forward to getting back to playing matches.
Messi and his Barcelona team mates have been back at the club's training ground conducting individual sessions since last week, following La Liga's four-phase protocol for returning to activity since it was halted in March due to the pandemic.
All 11 remaining rounds of fixtures in La Liga will take place without spectators, with President Javier Tebas saying last week that matches could start as soon as June 12.
While some players and clubs have spoken out against football returning out of fear of picking up the virus or passing it on to others, Messi said returning to matches was no riskier than leaving home for any other reason.
"There's a risk of infection everywhere, when you leave your house there's a risk, so I think we shouldn't think too much about it because if you do you won't want to go anywhere," Messi told Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo on Friday.
"But we must understand that it's essential we comply with the protocols and follow the prevention measures as much as we can. Returning to training is the first step but we shouldn't get complacent and we must take all precautions necessary."
Messi said he is excited about returning to matches but voiced his opposition to La Liga's proposal for teams to be quarantined together, away from their families, once matches resume.
"Personally I'm looking forward to the competition returning. We know it's going to all be very strange, without anyone in the stands, I've done it before and I found it out," said the Barca captain.
"With regards to being quarantined, the truth is we don't like the idea of being separated from our families at all but we'll have to see what the final plan is."
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Mark Heinrich)