During the interview, she described her current life in Milan. Milan is in Lombardy, which has been the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in Italy.
The crisis also shows no signs of slowing down, as the country now has around 80,539 cases of infection, along with 8,165 deaths (Corriere della Sera).
It should also be noted that this interview was conducted before the news broke that both Paolo and Daniel Maldini had become infected. To date, they remain Milan’s only cases of infection. Both of them seem to be recovering from the virus quite well.
Special thanks to Arne Huse for translating this for me.
AC Milan player Stine Hovland is “locked up” in Milan
The Norwegian national team player, Stine Hovland (29), is situated in the middle of the coronavirus crisis in Italy. From her flat in the hard-hit province of Lombardy, she speaks of this trying period in time.
– “It has been a strange few weeks. You have never experienced anything like this before. Nobody really knows what’s happening. It is a little scary. You have no control over your daily life”, the AC Milan player says. She, along with everyone else in Italy, must live under strict restrictions:
– “I must stay in my flat. You can only go to the grocery store. There, the lines are long. I was in the store earlier today and it took me some two hours in total [to finish shopping]. The hours of operation have also been limited, so it all adds up.”
– “In addition to this, you must maintain a distance in line, and only a certain number of people are allowed in the store at a time. Everything is controlled rather thoroughly and there’s a lot of police in the streets. Luckily, the weather was nice, so waiting in line today wasn’t so bad”, Hovland tells TV 2.
The AC Milan player is now in her third week without any formal training. It has forced her to think differently when it comes to maintaining her health and fitness.
– “I have never looked forward to being able to do a running workout now, even if I’m not fond of it. All of the training is happening inside the flat. It includes quite a bit of water bottle lifting and exercises with my own body weight. It’s not the same as the training would have been otherwise [before the crisis].”
Was not allowed to go home
Several of the other Serie A Femminile clubs have chosen to send their foreign players home. AC Milan has not chosen to do so.
– “As soon as the situation started to evolve in Norway, I asked if it was possible to go home. Then the club said no. Yesterday, a team member asked if that is possible [to leave], but the club has decided that it’s better for us to stay here. The club is our employer, and they have the final say.”
Do you think it’s a pity?
– “You must accept it. It is my job. If they say no, it is not easy to just leave. My contract is here”, says the defender.
Still, Hovland is far from alone in Italy. The woman from Sogn practically lives alone, but she now has company in the form of her Icelandic teammate, Berglind Björg Thorvaldsdottir, who has moved in with her.
– “It’s nice. There are of course days when things are pretty difficult, and it’s good that there are two people here. We entertain each other”, the woman from Sogn says.
You don’t know how bad it is
Hovland and all her teammates are in good health. There are no reports of infection in the staff around the team. Still, Hovland is following the developments of the pandemic closely.
– “I’m on Twitter a lot and I follow the news both here in Italy and at home in Norway. When you stay inside all day, you don’t comprehend everything that’s happening. It becomes a situation where you don’t know how bad it is.”
In the last 24 hours, 651 people have died in Italy, caused by the virus. Italy is the country with most deaths caused by the coronavirus. Around 5500 lives have been lost.
[Update: As of March 26th, the total is now 8,165 lives lost]
– “I was hoping for some positive news after the new regulations. The hope was that the number of fatalities would decrease, but that has not happened. Hopefully, this will change soon”, the former Sandviken captain says.
– “It’s difficult to realize how things actually are. When I look at the news in Norway, it sometimes gives another perspective than what I get here [in Italy]. However, I’m not close to the hospitals and those places, so on that part, I can’t comment on it.”
How does the situation affect your everyday life?
– “The streets are more and more empty and it is very quiet. People must maintain distance. It’s hard to understand how bad it is. You can often hear sirens. You obviously hear them anyway, but you think it over now [you are used to it]. Many are walking around wearing face masks. Many said that it became a ghost town a while ago. At that time, it didn’t feel that way, but now it’s definitely a ghost town. It is desolate.”
What do you think of the upcoming weeks?
– “You just have to be positive and hope that things change. The curves must go downward soon. We just have to live day by day and week by week.”
Norway is where Italy was a few weeks ago
The AC Milan defender also follows the developments in Norway closely. She sees certain similarities with how the situation was in Italy a few weeks ago.
– “People take it very seriously here now and follow the rules. In the beginning, it wasn’t like that. I feel Norway is a little like Italy was at first. Then people realized the gravity of the situation. Still, I neither believe nor hope it will be as bad in Norway as it is here”, says the 29-year-old.
On Saturday, the news came that a few of the Serie A men’s teams will resume training next week. The AC Milan women will not do so for a while.
[Editor’s note: To date, none of the Serie A clubs have officially resumed training.]
– “We just received the message that we will not train for at least two more weeks. But things can change. Everything can change on a day to day basis.”
The Milan Women have seven league matches left in the season. The club is currently tied for second, as they are on level points with Fiorentina. Before all of this happened, the season was going to finish on May 16. Now, it is uncertain when the rest of the matches can be played. Or when the season will even finish.