Western United rally around Alessandro Diamanti amid coronavirus crisis
Western United are throwing their support behind their A-League captain Alessandro Diamanti as he deals with the news of the coronavirus pandemic's heavy toll in his home country Italy.
Former Italy international Diamanti hails from Prato in Tuscany, a few hundred kilometres south of the virus epicentre Lombardy.
Italy has become the country worst affected by the pandemic, announcing 793 more deaths on Saturday, taking the total number to 4,825.
United coach Mark Rudan said 36-year-old Diamanti, who has his wife and children with him in Melbourne, had likely been hardest-hit at the club as he dealt with the news from his homeland from afar.
"Diamanti's probably been the one that's been affected the hardest of the playing group because he speaks to a lot of people back home in Italy and he gets a lot of information and he's well-informed," Rudan told AAP.
"It's been difficult so we need to protect him as well and let him know we're trying to do all we can to support him and keep him as safe as possible."
With the A-League currently still in play, United were travelling to Perth on Sunday for Monday's clash against the Glory.
Rudan said the club had tried to use training and playing as an opportunity to help players take their minds off the troubling issues in the outside world.
"Clearly it's affected all of us here but we come into work and we provide them [the players] with some happiness and some joy," he said.
"And that's what we've spoken about, for the two hours that they come into work -- this is probably the two hours where you can get away from the outside world and come in and let's enjoy it."