One of Britain’s most famous former footballers has sent a message of hope and positivity to Malta during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Gary Neville, Manchester United’s beloved right-back and one of Europe’s most decorated footballers, teamed up with community portal Malta Together to open up about just how much he loves, and misses, the special Mediterranean island so much.
“I’ve been coming over to Malta for 27 years, from the age of 18, when I first came to the country with David Beckham, Chris Casper and Ben Thornley,” Neville recounted.
“I had my first alcoholic drink in Paceville, my first shot of tequila, and also my first trip to Gianpula, the outdoor club… we don’t have outdoor nightclubs in Manchester,” he continues jokingly.
“I’ve been back every single year since, one or two times, for one reason and only reason only, and that’s you, the Maltese people – you’re absolutely wonderful.”
Neville praised the Maltese people for their values and personalities.
‘You’re absolutely wonderful – your hospitality, your generosity, the way you make us all feel like family, it’s so heartwarming,” he said.
“We can’t wait to be back with you soon, I’m sure it’ll be the first place I come once all of this is over and this virus has left us.”
As many countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic, it is heartening to see one of football’s greatest legends thinking of Malta at a time like this – and Neville drew parallels between the Maltese and the Brits.
“It’s an incredibly challenging time from a health perspective, I know that all our thoughts in both countries are with our health workers,” he said.
“We’ve never experienced this before and we’ll probably never experience it again in our lifetimes, but what will count at the end of this and will get us through is the strength of the people.”