May 18, 2020 / 2:16 PM / 6 days ago

Atletico's Felix raring to return to matches after resuming group training

Atletico Madrid's Joao Felix during training at Ciudad Deportiva Wanda Atletico de Madrid training ground, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Madrid, Spain, May 18, 2020. atleticodemadrid.com/Handout via REUTERS.

MADRID (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid’s players would be happy to re-start the season next weekend, forward Joao Felix has said, as his side trained together on Monday for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted sport worldwide in March.

Atletico joined clubs across Spain’s top two divisions in training in groups of up to 10 players after getting the green light from the government to move into the penultimate stage of the league’s four-phase plan to return to activity.

Organising body La Liga have said they hope to resume the final 11 rounds of matches, which will be played without spectators, from June 12, although the return to competition requires the approval of the government.

“We’re feeling very good and are very excited about playing again, if it were up to us we would return this weekend but we’ll have to wait and work hard so we can get off to a good start,” Felix told Atletico’s website after Monday’s session.

“We worked hard at home to make sure we didn’t lose our fitness and it’s been easy to get back to doing cardio work. Now we’re starting to work with the ball again and will do that every day so we can return to normality.

“It’s the first day we have been able to come together and we have been playing lots of small sided games which is what we love doing and what we were missing the most. I missed playing against my team mates and scoring goals.”

Atletico were sixth in the standings when the season was provisionally suspended on March 12 but were only one point behind fourth-placed Real Sociedad who occupy the final Champions League spot.

Atleti are also into the quarter-finals of the Champions League, having knocked out holders Liverpool in the last match they played before the season was put on hold.

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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