Madrid, March 24 (IANS) Spain is currently in lockdown, yet LaLiga players and clubs are keeping themselves very busy and, more often than not, involving fans around the world. With residents in Spain staying at home in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus, LaLiga footballers continue to come up with unique and creative ways to stay busy, stay in shape and stay in touch with their fans.
Some of the ways the footballers have found to spend time in the wake of the pandemic are:
Entertaining fans and raising money for charity
While there wasn't any action in LaLiga stadiums this week, there were a load of virtual matches for fans to enjoy. Spanish eSports commentator and influencer Ibai Llanos organised a FIFA20 tournament called the LaLiga Santander Challenge featuring a player of each LaLiga Santander team. Marco Asensio and Aitor Ruibal took their Real Madrid and Leganés teams to the final, which was won 4-2 by Asensio. Fans following the action could donate money to help the fight against the coronavirus and over €140,000 had been raised by the conclusion of the tournament.
Reading some books
This is a great time to start a brand-new book and two LaLiga Santander players discussed their reading preferences on social media. RC Celta's Rafinha was looking for an interesting non-fiction book and asked for recommendations via his Twitter account. The midfielder received many excellent suggestions, including from Real Betis striker Borja Iglesias, who shared a photo of Lamar Odom and Jermaine Pennant's autobiographies and of a book about the New Zealand rugby team by James Kerr.
Holding virtual press conferences
It's impossible to organise in-person press conferences right now, but there have been virtual ones over the past week for fans to stay up to date on the latest happenings at their club. For example, Athletic Club forward Iñaki Williams answered questions from fans and from the media from his home, while Levante coach Paco López similarly spoke about the situation at his club in a streamed video.
Alavés players share their favourite series
With people searching for something to watch as they stay at home, Alavés has helped out by asking players to recommend their own favourite series.?
Playing football tennis with the neighbours
CA Osasuna teammates Raúl Navas and Fran Mérida live next door to each other, which proves very useful when it comes to keeping their skills sharp. The two players enjoyed a game of football tennis by using the hedge they share as a net, with a video filmed and shared on social media.
"The toilet roll challenge"
Several clubs have been encouraging their fans to take part in the toilet roll challenge, where they are asked to take a video of themselves performing keepy-uppies with a roll of toilet paper and to share it online. Several players have shown their skills, with Levante UD one of the most active clubs in this challenge.
Real Oviedo's online games
LaLiga SmartBank side Real Oviedo has shared a number of interactive games on its social media feeds for fans to get involved with. From spot the difference to knots and crosses to a wordsearch, the Asturian club has been entertaining its own fans and new followers too.?
At these difficult times, there are many who are in need of support and several LaLiga players have been doing their bit to help out. The ‘Saldremos Juntos' initiative – ‘We'll Make It Out Together,' in English – is being led by Atlético de Madrid's Saúl Ñíguez, and also has the backing of fellow Atleti player Álvaro Morata, Barcelona's Sergio Busquets, Sevilla's Óliver Torres, Real Sociedad's Miguel Ángel Moyá and others. It's just one of the many examples of the good being done in the communities where the footballers of LaLiga reside.
Working out with Leganés' fitness coach
CD Leganés players have been taking part in a very special series of workouts this past week. Given the current circumstances, the club's fitness coach Pol Lorente has been streaming exercise instructions for the first-team squad and for the public, allowing people around the world to watch Lorente's workouts live on YouTube and learn how to train like a pro from their own homes.