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21 May, 2020 13:16

'Football without fans is sadder than dancing with your SISTER': Spain supremo Luis Enrique's quip sparks stampede of Neymar jokes

'Football without fans is sadder than dancing with your SISTER': Spain supremo Luis Enrique's quip sparks stampede of Neymar jokes

Luis Enrique has spoken of his sadness at seeing Spain's international schedule put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic – and fans have reacted to the manager's poetic comparison with clips of Neymar dancing with his sister.

Former Barcelona boss Enrique had been preparing to lead Spain for the first time at a major tournament before EURO 2020, which had been due to start next month, was postponed by a year as the pandemic gripped Europe.

The former international returned to the helm in November after stepping down for eight months to deal with the death of his daughter but is yet to manage a match in his second spell in charge, admitting the games he has watched from Germany since the Bundesliga returned last weekend have been a “sad sight.”

“Without fans, everything is heard and the magic of the moment is lost,” he told Colgados del Aro, having seen the first major league in Europe to resume during the crisis play fixtures in empty stadiums under public health guidelines.

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“It is sadder than dancing with your sister. We must understand that this is a big business and the return of football will help many people cope with isolation. But watching sports in such circumstances is definitely very strange.”

Fans responded by joking on social media that Brazil striker Neymar, who has drawn headlines in the past for dancing with his sister at her birthday party, would disagree with Enrique’s assessment.

The flamboyant forward became the most expensive footballer in history when he joined Paris Saint Germain for €222 million in 2017, but shrugged off a broken foot to attend younger sibling Rafaella’s party for the fourth year in a row the following March.

“Has he asked Neymar, though?” asked one fan, while others responded with photos of the forward looking surprised and embracing Rafaella, who he enjoys a close relationship with.

Neymar has confessed to “anxiety” and a “longing” for football since almost all professional action was suspended in mid-March – sentiments echoed by Enrique, who remains hopeful that international games could return later this year as La Liga and Premier League leaders attempt to arrange an imminent resumption of games.

“The EURO was postponed and uncertainty still hangs about everything,” he rued.

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“We have to deal with constant doubts about everything, so we are waiting for the return of football and are planning friendly matches.

“The team should hold several matches in September, but only if it is safe.

“So far we have more important things to do, and patience must be maintained.”

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