Daniel Didavi is one of the last vaccine skeptics in the Bundesliga. The VfB professional puts his career at risk.
Daniel Didavi, says his coach Pellegrino Matarazzo, is “an authentic person”. The 31-year-old professional from the Bundesliga soccer club VfB Stuttgart is therefore real and unadulterated – also when it comes to his skepticism about vaccination. Didavi is one of the few players not yet immunized against Corona in the league, which boasts a vaccination rate of over 90 percent. But there is no bad word to be heard from VfB.
“I appreciate him as a person and as a footballer,” says Matarazzo. The many young professionals in the team could learn from the experienced Didavi, “he also communicates with the guys in the dressing room”. He does not want to publicly express his skepticism about vaccination.
Anyone who asks around in their environment, like the Stuttgarter Nachrichten/Zeitung, gets a different picture than that of an open communicator. If you talk to Didavi about the vaccination, they say, you “run into a wall”.
And so the highly talented Swabian gets more and more sidelined. On some trips abroad, he is not even allowed to go to the hotel because of the 2G rule. At the start of the second half of the season in Fürth, he was not in the squad because he was in contact with an infected person and VfB didn’t want to take any risks – although Didavi had tested negative several times afterwards.
Because he reported the contact himself, Sven Mislintat praised him as “extremely exemplary”. Even the head of sports does not want to condemn Didavi. “I’m clearly in favor of getting vaccinated, but it’s his conscious decision, and it has to be respected,” he says. Didavi have “like everyone else the chance” of more playing time.
The former U21 international is “always an option” for Matarazzo, but there is little room for him in his system. Didavi only has ten league games, one of which he played over 90 minutes. His contract expires, a move to the USA, which he once dreamed of, is impossible because of his vaccination status. A career end in the summer does not seem impossible. Didavi, says someone who knows him well, “doesn’t do things by halves”.