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Cristiano Ronaldo shot back at Italy’s sports minister on Friday, denying that he broke the nation’s coronavirus protocols after returning from international duty while infected with the disease.

The Juventus forward is currently quarantined at his home in Turin after traveling from Portugal in an air ambulance following a positive COVID-19 test while with Portugal for Nations League matches.

“I never broke the protocol,” Ronaldo said on Instagram, adding that he traveled after gaining authorization to do so and had avoided contact with other people. “Someone, whose name I’m won’t say, here in Italy … says that I didn’t respect the protocol, that is simply a lie.

“I am continuing my quarantine, I am alone, my family is on another floor, we can’t be in contact and it will be like that at least for the next 10 days.”

Minister of Sport Vincenzo Spadafora said on Thursday he thought the Portugal captain had broken protocol by leaving Italy while Juventus was in isolation following two COVID-19 cases among the team’s non-playing staff.

On Friday, he claimed the “arrogant” Ronaldo had lied and stressed that his comments referred specifically to his and some of his teammates’ leaving to join their respective national teams.

“The fame and greatness of certain footballers doesn’t allow them to be arrogant, disrespectful towards our institutions and to lie,” Spadafora told Italy’s ANSA news agency.

“I reiterate what I said yesterday regarding some Juventus players abandoning their team hotel, comments which I based on Juventus’ own communications with health authorities in Turin.”

Local health authorities in the Piedmont region said that prosecutors had been informed of the departure of Ronaldo and other Juve players.

Juventus said on Thursday that Ronaldo, who claims to not have the “slightest symptom,” returned to Italy in a “medical flight authorized by the competent health authorities”.

The entire Juve team was back in isolation on Wednesday evening after American midfielder Weston McKennie tested positive.

Both McKennie and Ronaldo are in quarantine and must test negative before rejoining their teammates.

Under UEFA rules a player must provide evidence he is no longer sick a week before a European match.

Ronaldo, who will miss Juve’s Serie A match with Crotone and its Champions League opener against Dynamo Kiev on October 20, must test negative on October 21 to play against Barcelona and old foe Lionel Messi a week later.

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