Matilda's tough return from Spain lockdown

Matildas midfielder Alex Chidiac is relieved to be back home after a COVID-19 lockdown in Spain.
Matildas midfielder Alex Chidiac is relieved to be back home after a COVID-19 lockdown in Spain.

After a 45-hour journey back to Australia, injured Matildas and Atletico Madrid midfielder Alex Chidiac has her sights set on a return to the football field.

Chidiac spent three weeks in an "eerie" coronavirus lockdown in Madrid before securing passage to Melbourne, on near-empty flights via Frankfurt and Doha.

"It was brutal getting home," Chidiac told AAP.

"There were not a lot of flights getting out and I was on the phone with the consulate quite often to see what the best route would be.

"It came down to going through either Frankfurt or Paris but both were about a 15-hour lay-over so it was about choosing the best airport to stay in ... I had to make a bed out of some random tables."

Chidiac, 21, has been sidelined for seven months with a complicated ankle injury so she was unable to push for selection at Atletico Madrid, who signed her as a 19-year-old in 2018.

"I had to really take care of the mental side of things and physically going through rehab for the first time, it's not easy watching everyone play week in, week out - especially because our girls have been doing so well in Champions League," she said.

"There's been a lot of games and opportunities that I've missed out on this year but I think I've taken a lot out of knowing what it's like to be injured and how to be a better teammate without playing."

Chidiac, who has another year on her contract in the Spanish capital, hopes to push for a Matildas return in the future, but is focused on getting back to full fitness.

And with football on hold, Chidiac has connected with the Play For Lives initiative - which links charities with athletes keen to volunteer - through the PFA.

Following her 14-day quarantine she's spent time volunteering for Variety - The Children's Charity, putting together care packages.

"I'm looking at doing a course in community development and I just thought that it would be a really good opportunity to learn more about the community and the charities that are around," she said.

"It's just been really good for me to get out and separate myself from the football side of things, the rehab and that routine to pack up some toys."

Australian Associated Press