Midfielder Matuidi might never have known he was carrying the virus had he not been afforded the medical testing provided to elite footballers, including club teammate Paulo Dybala, who struggled to breathe while he was ill and has since been reported to have tested positive four times despite recovering.
The former World Cup winner tried to stay upbeat after becoming the second Juventus player to test positive for the virus but has now confessed his fears at a time he admits is “not good”.
“I was psycho,” he told Bros Stories of his diagnosis, having seen football in Italy suspended on March 9 amid an escalating Covid-19 death toll.
“I was speechless. I was mad at the doctor – I said, ‘is he joking? Why would he tell me such a thing?’ I couldn’t feel anything.
“I had no symptoms but, as soon as I heard the news, I was in shock. I was in total panic, I feared for my family and friends.
“It was tough for my mom because she was afar…but I was able to reassure them. You have to be mentally strong.
“I’ll tell you the truth, it’s really hard. When I tested positive, I couldn’t even go out grocery shopping.
“Even when I started shopping again, it’s real paranoia. You tell yourself that the person next to you shouldn’t be too close.”
Dynamic former Paris Saint-Germain favorite Matuidi spent his 33rd birthday in isolation before testing negative for the virus on March 15, although his worries are unlikely to have been allayed by the mystery surrounding forward Dybala’s subsequent tests.
“Thank god, I am cured,” he said. “We really want this to end as soon as possible so we can go back to our old lives.”
Matuidi has particularly missed embracing his family and fellow squad members, including star striker Cristiano Ronaldo, who is rumored to have decided to delay his return to Italy from Portugal amid concerns that some of his teammates could still be harboring the virus.
Speaking to former Morocco captain Medhi Benatia by video, Matuidi revealed he was enjoying the surprise situation of being able to spend a prolonged period of time at home with his three children and was observing a strict fitness regime imposed by the reigning Serie A champions.
“My wife and children did not have the virus, so that was good. I have a tendency to take time off but Juve won’t let you put 10kg on. It’s not possible – no chance.”
While professional football in Matuidi’s homeland has been suspended until at least September, Italian clubs are expected to return to training imminently with the aim of completing the season.
Matuidi and Benatia are auctioning shirts and donating any proceeds from their YouTube videos to provide financial support to healthcare initiatives and professionals.