'I could hardly sleep' - Leeds United's Diego Llorente reflects on whirlwind week with Spain after false positive Covid test

Diego Llorente has reflected on a frustrating week in which he believed his Euros dream with Spain was over.

By Joe Urquhart
Saturday, 12th June 2021, 2:19 pm

The Leeds United defender was included in Luis Enrique's final 23-man squad for this summer's delayed European Championships which kicked off this weekend.

Llorente, though, tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday, becoming the second team member to do so and throwing his involvement into doubt.

The whole Spain squad had already been put into quarantine during the pre-tournament training camp after captain Sergio Busquets returned a positive result.

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Llorente was then tested a further three times with each result coming back negative meaning he was given the all clear to return to training with his teammates on Friday.

Spain's preparations have been impacted on a grand scale in a bid to contain a potential outbreak among players and staff, but after the late scare the Whites central defender will now take up his spot in Enrique's squad as planned.

"The first two days were complicated, days of frustration in which I was fine," Llorente reflected on a topsy-turvy week emotionally.

"It's difficult to describe. I didn't know what to think, I could hardly sleep and I didn't know what to think. I hadn't had much contact with Busquets, we always followed the rules and the first hours were devastating.

Leeds United defender Diego Llorente in action for Spain. Pic: Getty

"The support of my family and wife helped me. I always try to get the positive out of things and that's something I tried to do in this situation.

"I did not have any symptoms, to feel like you’re going to miss out [on Euro 2020] is something you’d never expect. Once it was confirmed that it was a false positive, I returned with more and I want to help the team if possible."

Upon his return to Spain's training camp following his self-isolation, Llorente received a guard of honour from his international teammates.

"The reception of the teammates has been one of the most special things that has happened to me," he continued.

"It is a sign that speaks to us of the unity that the whole team has. The team is very united and that reception I did not expect.

"All of us who are here see the glass is half full. All these things have made us stronger as a group and as a team. On a mental level it can help you to face these games.

"Everything will work out if we work in the same direction and that is the lesson we must draw from this week."

Spain will begin their Euros with a clash against Sweden in Seville on Monday night in Group E.

Asked how damaging the interruptions had been to preparations ahead of the tournament, Llorente said: "It's better when there is no news, when everything is fine but we have to focus on the football part and leave all this behind as soon as possible.

"We have to focus on the game against Sweden. For me they have great players. I have been lucky enough to share a year with [Alexander] Isak [at Real Sociedad] and he has great potential.

"Despite [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic's absence, you have to have a lot of respect for them and know how they will play."

The whole Spain squad was vaccinated by the army on Friday following minister approval in a bid to allay any further fears.