Messi, Guardiola donate money, Ronaldo finances hospitals for corona

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola have both made donations worth €1 million to help overburdened health care systems deal with the coronavirus pandemic, ESPN reports. The large part of Messi and Guardiola's contributions will go towards the fight against COVID-19 in Spain, the second-most affected country in Europe after Italy.

The latest figures made available by the Spanish health ministry on Tuesday revealed there have been almost 40,000 confirmed cases and nearly 3,000 deaths in the country. Messi's donation will be split between two medical centres: Hospital Clinic in Barcelona and another in his native Rosario, Argentina. A source told ESPN that the total donation is worth around €1m.

"Thank you, Leo, for your commitment and your support," the Twitter account for Hospital Clinic posted on Tuesday.Messi has regularly donated to hospitals in Barcelona. Last year, through his foundation, he helped fund a new cancer wing at the Sant Joan de Deu children's hospital in the city. Former Barcelona coach Guardiola has also provided support to help Catalonia's battle against coronavirus. The region in the northeast of Spain has registered 8,000 cases so far. There have been over 200 deaths.

Guardiola's donation, also to the total of €1m, will go to the Barcelona Medical College and the Angel Soler Daniel foundation. A statement said it will be used for the "acquisition of sanitary material during the COVID-19 emergency." Messi and Guardiola join a growing list of personalities from the world of football to offer financial help as the world grabbles to contain the spread of the virus.

Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo has also stepped in by combining with his agent, Jorge Mendes, to finance hospitals in Portugal. They will fund North Lisbon's University Hospital Centre (CHULN) with two intensive care wings and an intensive care wing in Porto's Santo Antonio hospital, which is part of Porto's University Hospital Centre.

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has also contributed €1m to the fight against the pandemic, while members of the German national team joined together to give €2.5m. Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo has stepped in to help amid the coronavirus pandemic by combining with his agent to finance hospitals in Portugal. 

Ronaldo and agent Jorge Mendes will fund North Lisbon's University Hospital Centre (CHULN) with two intensive care wings and an intensive care wing in Porto's Santo Antonio hospital, which is part of Porto's University Hospital Centre.

The CHULN, which includes Santa Maria and Pulido Valente hospitals, confirmed to ESPN that the two new intensive care wings will carry the names of the two football personalities. "Businessman Jorge Mendes and Cristiano Ronaldo will donate two intensive care wings for the CHULN; each wing will be totally equipped and will have the capacity for 10 beds," CHULN told ESPN.

"The units will be equipped with the charitable contribution of Mendes and Ronaldo. This equipment includes beds, ventilators, heart monitors, pumps and infusion syringes, essential equipment in the care of critically ill patients with COVID-19.

"These units, called UCI Jorge Mendes and UCI Cristiano Ronaldo, after the COVID-19 [pandemic is over] will be converted and will remain as a reinforcement of intensive care medicine, which had 31 beds before the new coronavirus pandemic, increasing its capacity to 51 beds."

Meanwhile, the wing at the CHUP will allow for the opening of 15 intensive care beds, fully equipped. As of March 24, Portugal had 2,060 confirmed coronavirus cases with 23 deaths. Portugal declared a state of emergency last Thursday.

Ronaldo, whose Juventus teammates Paulo Dybala, Blaise Matuidi and Daniele Rugani have tested positive for coronavirus, has been in quarantine in his native Madeira.

The Portugal captain has been active on social media, reminding fans to follow the advice of the World Health Organisation while also highlighting the importance of following authorities regarding confinement.