Joao Felix: Atletico Madrid happy to restart La Liga next weekend
Spanish second division side Rayo Vallecano's players refuse to train over pay dispute
Last Updated: 18/05/20 4:28pm
Atletico Madrid's players would be happy to restart the season next weekend, forward Joao Felix has said, as his side trained together on Monday for the first time.
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."
Rayo players refuse to train over pay cut
Spanish second division side Rayo Vallecano refused to turn up for the first day of group training due to a dispute with the club hierarchy over a pay cut for staff and players, a club source said on Monday.
While every club in Spain's top two divisions held group training on Monday for the first time since play was halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, Rayo's players were given an individual programme to follow at home.
In May, Rayo joined a large number of Spanish clubs in introducing a temporary pay cut underwritten by the government, known as an ERTE, after the season was provisionally suspended.
Coach Paco Jemez criticised the pay cut, however, arguing that it was not necessary as the club was in a healthy state financially, and called for all non-playing staff to receive their full wages during the period.