Barcelona star Lionel Messi says ‘health must come first’ in an impassioned statement after the Spanish football league season was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

There will be no action in the Spanish top flight for ‘at least the next two rounds of matches’ after a Real Madrid basketball player, who shares training facilities with the football team, tested positive for the virus.

La Liga will not resume until April at the earliest, with other clubs – including Barcelona – following Real’s lead and cancelling training, with players working out by themselves at home.

And Messi was keen to stress the importance of exercising caution to try and avoid Covid-19, sharing a picture with his sons Mateo and Ciro at his home and penning a heartfelt message to supporters.

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Son días complicados para todo el mundo. Vivimos preocupados por lo que está ocurriendo y queremos ayudar poniéndonos en el lugar de aquellos que peor lo están pasando, o bien porque les afectó directamente a ellos o sus familiares y amigos, o porque están trabajando en primera línea para combatirlo en hospitales y centros de salud. Quiero enviarles mucha fuerza a todos ellos. La salud debe ser siempre lo primero. Es un momento excepcional y hay que seguir las indicaciones tanto de las organizaciones sanitarias como de las autoridades públicas. Sólo así podremos combatirlo de manera efectiva. Es el momento de ser responsable y quedarse en casa, además es perfecto para disfrutar ese tiempo con los tuyos que no siempre se puede tener. Un abrazo y ojalá consigamos darle vuelta a esta situación cuanto antes. #QuedateEnCasa #StayAtHome

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‘These are complicated days for the whole world,’ he wrote on Instagram on Saturday.

‘We are living worried about what is happening and we want to help by putting ourselves in the place of those who are suffering the worst, or because they have been directly effected, or their family and friends, or because they’re working in the front line to fight it in hospitals and health centres.

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‘I want to send a lot of strength to all of them. Health should always be the important thing.

‘It’s an extraordinary moment and you have to follow the indications from health organisations like the public authority. Only like this can we fight it in an effective way.

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‘Health should always be the important thing. It’s the moment to be responsible and stay at home, we can also enjoy this time with our family that we don’t always have.

‘A hug, and I hope we can turn the situation around as soon as possible. #StayAtHome’