Ankara: Former Turkish national team and ex-Barcelona goalkeeper Rustu Recber is in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus, his wife said.
Recber took on hero status in Turkey as he kept goal at the 2002 World Cup, anchoring his team to the semi-finals and ultimately third place, their greatest ever performance in the tournament.
The powerfully built and poney-tailed goalkeeper was easily recognisable at the World Cup due to the black, anti-reflection product he smeared beneath his eyes like some NFL players.
“Rustu is in hospital with a COVID-19 diagnosis,” Isil Recber said on Instagram late Saturday.
“We are in a state of shock after the symptoms developed rapidly while everything was normal. These are critical times and it’s very difficult.”
She added that she, as well as their son and daughter, had tested negative for the virus.
The goalkeeper, now 46, enjoyed a brief spell at Barcelona in 2003 after starring in the World Cup a year earlier when Turkey beat co-hosts South Korea 3-2 in the third-place play-off.
He also played for Istanbul giants Fenerbahce and Besiktas in football-mad Turkey before retiring in 2012. Last week, Galatasaray manager Fatih Terim said he also tested positive for the virus.
Turkey has officially recorded 7,402 cases of the new coronavirus while 108 people have died, according to the health minister Saturday.