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Former Sevilla star Diego Capel on life at Birkirkara FC

COVID-19 has completely disrupted the football world with all major competitions brought to a halt. Former Sevilla and Spain winger DIEGO CAPEL, shared his thoughts about this unthinkable scenario with Gianluca Lia while shedding light on his life at Birkirkara FC…

You can listen to the interview with Diego Capel on our podcast Times of Malta Sports Desk, here.

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on football and the rest of the sporting disciplines as the deadly disease continues to claim thousands of lives while forcing over a billion people to stay at home.

Right now, it looks impossible for the football governing bodies to set a return date for the competitions as there seems to be no imminent end to this crisis.

This scenario has inevitably put the sportspersons in a position to reflect on their real priorities as their careers are on an unexpected hiatus.

Diego Capel, currently at Birkirkara, could not really showcase his talents in the BOV Premier League as much as he wanted as after playing just four games, Maltese football has come to a shut down until at least April 5.

So far with the Stripes, the Spaniard collected three league appearances, netting his first goal in Maltese football against Gżira United, and an FA Trophy appearance against Floriana.

“I am currently in Malta because I did not return to Spain,” the former Sevilla winger told the Sunday Times of Malta.

“Since we are not training as a club, I am doing my individual exercises at home.

“It is not an easy situation for us but hopefully we can see the end of this as soon as possible and resume our normal lives.”

Apart from the BOV Premier League, other various championships across Europe are also suspended indefinitely including the Serie A and the Spanish La Liga – two leagues in which Capel featured with Genoa and Sevilla respectively.

For the Spanish winger, postponing the football activities made sense because health is always a priority in this situation.

“Cancelling football was the best decision at this point,” Capel, who has 173 appearances in the La Liga, explained.

“In such scenarios, football becomes secondary – there are a lot of people that have felt the impact of this virus, directly or indirectly, and I feel that in this moment we have to protect ourselves and our loved ones.”

While Capel remained in Malta, he has family in Spain with the European country now becoming one of the top three most worst-hit nations by this virus. In fact, it has overtaken China in the number of deaths, second only to Italy.

“Cancelling football was the best decision at this point,” Capel, who has 173 appearances in the La Liga, explained.

There have been several La Liga players who caught the virus including Valencia’s Ezequiel Garay while others who succumbed to the disease, including former Real Madrid president Lorenzo Sanz.

“It is a difficult situation in Spain right now – I have family there and I keep following the updates of course to ensure that they are fine,” Capel said.

“Looking at all the difficult period the Spanish population is going through makes me sad – I really hope we can see the light at the end of the tunnel quickly.”

For Capel, this moment of lockdown across the world will push players and athletes to realise of what they are surrounded with, which could maybe change their philosophy of life in the near future.

“I feel that something will change – this is a life lesson where we are now realising how grateful we should be for what we have and for those who surround us,” he said.

One thing that has for sure come into the fore during this football hiatus, is the financial discrepancy between the elite and the provincial clubs. However, even top clubs are considering reducing the salaries of their players including Barcelona.

“I think that such initiative would be a very important message to society,” Capel stressed.

“Nowadays, players are receiving a lot of money and probably in such situation it would be a positive thing to put their hands in their pockets and help out those in need – it would be a great gesture.”

Despite all this uncertainty, Capel is hopeful that football can resume and bring light into society in the near future where he hopes to keep showing his real qualities at Birkirkara FC.

“I am counting on the league to resume as we were on a good run and it would be important to close the championship on a high,” the former Sporting Lisbon winger said.

“After missing the first game through injury, I was involved in the following games and was very pleased with my displays, where I also managed to score.

“My quick integration in the Maltese community has helped me to adapt quickly at Birkirkara and I feel really comfortable now, both as a person and as a player.”

Stripes future

Back in January, Capel had put pen to paper on a six-month deal at Birkirkara with an option to extend for another season.

Given the circumstances, it is possible that the 2019-20 could not resume hence for Capel it would be already decision time on whether renewing his stay at Birkirkara.

“I am not thinking about that for now,” he admitted.

“I live day by day and right now, I just hope that the league resumes so that I continue to play with Birkirkara and finish the season in the best possible way.

“I am happy so far, then we will see what happens in the future.”

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