Former Arsenal and FC Barcelona winger Alexander Hleb says 'nobody cares' about the coronavirus in his country as one of the only football leagues active worldwide.
With the Belarusian Premier League kicking off this past weekend as business as usual, it marks the only active league member of UEFA during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Saturday in the capital city Minsk, Energetyk-BGU kicked off the new top-flight season against BATE Borisov and Hleb has now shed light on the situation.
In an interview with The Sun, the former Arsenal star has sarcastically suggested Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo should now move to Belarus where the virus is clearly not being taken seriously.
"All the world now watches the Belarusian league. Everybody should go to their television and see us," Hleb said.
"When the NHL closed the season, a lot of ice hockey players went to Russia to play. Maybe Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo might come to the Belarus league to continue. You know?
"In Belarus, it’s like no one cares. It's incredible. Maybe in one week or two weeks we will stop here. Maybe our President is just waiting to see what happens with the virus.
He added: "Everybody here knows what's happened to Italy and Spain. It doesn’t look good. But in our country, people in the presidential administration believe it’s not as extreme as the news says.
"A lot of young people and students here think like this. I’m keeping at home with my family. But when I go out, the streets and restaurants are still busy."