SHOWS: MADRID, SPAIN (APRIL 17, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) ATLETICO MADRID MIDFIELDER, SAUL NIGUEZ, SAYING: "I was watching the news, and everything was negative, so I spoke to my agent via WhatsApp and I said OK let's do something to help.
The idea came to me in five minutes, I told him about it and he told me it was very difficult because you're going to need a team behind you to try and assist you because there are going to be a lot of people who will need help.
I said OK we'll do what we can and put it on the internet and see how it goes.
My agent then says, 'OK Saul let me move on this, let me see if I can get a small team together and I will tell you if it's possible or not' Brilliant.
And within two hours he calls me, and he writes to me telling me we've set up a team and we can move this forward, move it, write it.
I was like OK, wow, this is incredible, it's really quick." 2.
WHITE FLASH 3.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) ATLETICO MADRID MIDFIELDER, SAUL NIGUEZ, SAYING: "I got a positive response, so I tried to move it along and launch it.
When you have famous people backing you it's a lot easier to have the outcome when in the end you might for example have 1800 businesses one day and then the next you have 18000.
So, in the end it's a big change for all those ambassadors.
So, during this quarantine we're getting more and more ambassadors on board to help those small and medium businesses.
One other thing I haven't mentioned is the Saldremos Juntos movement that we're doing together is also intended for SMEs and the self-employed." 4.
WHITE FLASH 5.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) ATLETICO MADRID MIDFIELDER, SAUL NIGUEZ, SAYING: "I believe it's going to be a success.
The people are showing a lot of support.
Fortunately, we can count on support from La Liga.
We're awaiting responses from important businesses.
We have LG, AXA.
We have a lot of big businesses behind us who are helping us to help these small businesses and us as well; a little bit of everything.
And the truth is it's working really well." 6.
WHITE FLASH 7.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) ATLETICO MADRID MIDFIELDER, SAUL NIGUEZ, SAYING: "So, the overarching aim is to link Saldremos Juntos to a business and to a famous person and for the business to get something positive out of it.
It can be anything from donating a racket, a motorbike helmet, what I've got - a shirt or football boots - etc and auction it and raise money so the business can get a little boost." 8.
WHITE FLASH 9.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) ATLETICO MADRID MIDFIELDER, SAUL NIGUEZ, SAYING: "We need more ambassadors, we need more people to help, famous people, we're looking for anyone, influencers, Youtubers, race drivers, tennis players, basketball players, footballers, paddle players; whoever you are you can help.
I'm going to these people because I think right now, they're the ones who have the most influence.
But if someone can take all their friends to a particular business and say we're going to spend lots of money here they don't have to be famous.
If you don't want to do this just give five euros, one euro, we will accept it.
The simplest message is that people need to show support, and if they do that, we'll come out of this together." 10.
WHITE FLASH 11.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) ATLETICO MADRID MIDFIELDER, SAUL NIGUEZ, SAYING: "No, I've not relived the match at all, to be honest.
Sometimes when you see it on Instagram maybe yes but me personally, I haven't relived it.
There are many more important things to worry about right now than football in the past or in the future including the question of when football will return.
Personally, I don't care at all, when the club will call me back to train, I will go and train.
I'm preparing myself mentally and physically to deal with it the best way possible but sincerely football is secondary at this moment in time." 12.
WHITE FLASH 13.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) ATLETICO MADRID MIDFIELDER, SAUL NIGUEZ, SAYING: "For example, in our club (we agreed to a pay cut because) we have always wanted to help those within our club - the workers, all those people who go above and beyond to help us and look after us and all other clubs are doing something similar, everyone is trying to help.
These (footballers) are people who economically speaking are in a good financial position however not all footballers are in as good a financial position as others it must be said, and they need our help too.
Not all footballers live from football and we should give money to those clubs and those footballers who have other jobs and their income is not enough if they don't receive their second salary; it's important to emphasise that.
In the end being a footballer is something that comes from within, something that drives you to show solidarity in these moments.
It's the only way that we can get out of this together.
The only way to get out of this is above all showing solidarity, being strong and listening to the government." 14.
WHITE FLASH 15.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) ATLETICO MADRID MIDFIELDER, SAUL NIGUEZ, SAYING: "A tough year, in every respect.
A tough time for everyone, a time to start again.
Normally in a crisis the rich will get richer, and the poor will become, and the middle classes will fall.
My thought is in the end those who have money or lots of money will go on to buy things that will be devalued and those that don't have as much money will carry on living a more normal life.
The ones who have literally enough money to live on will be screwed, and it's these people who are going to suffer the worst out of this.
So, I think that we all must help these people and help each other it's a very complicated time.
I don't know how long it's going to take, possibly a year or two - very complicated to try and go back to normal.
It's not a simple flu like people are saying, everyone needs to know that.
The Saldremos Juntos movement has been created in Spain but for example other countries the United States could create something similar.
People who are famous and people who can influence others; you don't necessarily have to put money, perhaps maybe with your profile you can help.
Like I say there are many ways that we can help.
I'm not saying you need to put 200,000 euros or 100,00 euros, no there's no need for that.
If you can attract people businesses need those people." MADRID, SPAIN (FILE - NOVEMBER 25, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 16.
MIDFIELDER SAUL NIGUEZ STRETCHING MADRID, SPAIN (FILE - FEBRUARY 17, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 17.
MIDFIELDER SAUL NIGUEZ RUNNING AND PASSING MADRID, SPAIN (FILE - SEPTEMBER 17, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 18.
MIDFIELDER SAUL NIGUEZ TRAINING MADRID, SPAIN (FILE - DECEMBER 10, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 19.
MIDFIELDER SAUL NIGUEZ TRAINING MADRID, SPAIN (APRIL 20,2020) (REUTERS-ACCESS ALL) 20.
VARIOUS OF ROADS WITH LITTLE TRAFFIC 21.
SEALED PLAYGROUND WITH POLICE TAPE AT THE ENTRANCE 22.
VARIOUS OF SEALED PLAYGROUND 23.
VARIOUS OF MAN WALKING DOG IN FRONT OF SEALED PLAYGROUND 24.
CONSTRUCTION SITE 25.
VARIOUS OF BUILDERS WEARING FACE MASKS AND GLOVES WORKING AT CONSTRUCTION SITE 26.
BUILDER WEARING GLOVES 28.
VARIOUS OF POLICE OFFICERS STOPPING CARS TO CHECK PERMISSION TO DRIVE DURING LOCKDOWN 29.
MADRID'S BARAJAS-ADOLFO SUAREZ AIRPORT 30.
VARIOUS OF AIRCRAFT ON TARMAC 31.
AIRPORT AND MADRID'S SKYLINE IN THE BACKGROUND STORY: The novel coronavirus has crippled the global economy and devastated lives and families but Atletico Madrid and Spain midfielder Saul Niguez believes there is a way out if people show solidarity with each other.
With football on hold during the health crisis, Saul, 25, has launched Saldremos Juntos (We'll get through this together), a campaign to boost Spain's freelancers and small businesses whose livelihoods have been bludgeoned by the pause in activity.
"I was watching the news and everything was negative so I spoke to my agent and I said let's do something to help out," Saul told Reuters in an interview on Skype.
"The idea came to me in five minutes and he told me it was very difficult but I said let's do what we can.
In two hours he had formed a team." Saldremos Juntos has assembled 44 high profile ambassadors including athletes, actors, social media influencers, to provide publicity to stricken businesses.
Saul's Atletico team mate Alvaro Morata and Barcelona's Sergio Busquets are among those to have pledged to help the 18,000 small businesses and freelancers who have signed up asking for assistance.
128 companies have also joined the campaign, which is launching three funding streams. La Liga has donated 50,000 euros ($54,300) to the campaign through an online concert held last month.
"The idea is to link a business, Saldremos Juntos and the famous person and for the business to get something positive out of it," Saul explained.
"So a tennis player can donate a racket or a motorcyclist their helmet and we auction it and raise money so a business can get a little boost.
When you have famous people backing you it's easier to have a big impact." Few countries have been hit as hard by the virus as Spain, which has the top rate of infections in Europe at more than 200,000 and the second-highest death toll, with more than 20,000 people losing their lives.
Around 900,000 jobs have been lost, while Spain's 3.2 million freelancers and small business owners, who have long complained of having little social protection and paying high rates, are up against the wall.
"This crisis is going to be much bigger than anything we've experienced and anything we do will not be enough but my aim is to help, it might not be enough in some cases but I have to try," Saul added.
"I have no fixed aim, I'm talking with lots of people about what they can do.
People don't have to give lots of money, but famous people can use their image and can attract people to businesses who need them.
"Every way of helping is positive, we need to get everyone to help and support each other and above all when this crisis passes we need to continue to show solidarity with each other." Saul's last act on a football pitch before the spread of the virus halted sporting competitions across the globe was helping Atletico pull off a momentous extra-time victory away to Champions League holders Liverpool.
As organisers struggle to find ways to complete the season, there is no guarantee Atletico will be able to continue competing in Europe's top competition, but Saul insists returning to football is not on his mind.
He has been training in a gym in his Madrid home and keeping in touch with team mates through video meetings, where coach Diego Simeone continues to offer tactical instructions.
"The club will call me when it's time to go back to work, I'm preparing myself mentally and physically to deal with it in the best way possible but football is secondary right now," he said Footballers in England have been criticised by politicians for their initial reticence to agree to a pay cut during the crisis, while some clubs took advantage of a government scheme to furlough non-playing staff But Saul, who along with his Atletico team mates has shouldered a 70% pay cut while football is on hold and guaranteed non-sporting staff will get their full wages, disagrees with the perception footballers live in a bubble "We agreed to a pay cut because we want to help our club and employees, all other clubs are doing something similar so everyone is helping in one way or another," he said "In the end being a footballer is something that comes from within, something that drives you to show solidarity in these moments.
It's the only way that we can get out of this together." ($1 = 0.9208 euros)
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