RONALD ARAUJO: THE PERFECT ANSWER FOR BARCELONA DEFENSIVE WOES

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From Barcelona B to replacing Umtiti as a starter, Ronald Araujo showed the Barca fans, what he is capable of, with his hard work and dedication as he debuted for FC Barcelona as a substitute against Sevilla in the 73rd minute. Still, his dream soon turned into a nightmare after receiving a red card just 13 minutes later for a challenge on Javier Hernandez. But Ronald Araujo spirit was intact even after the sent off as after the match he said “my sending off wasn’t my fault. It was a shoulder to shoulder. I won’t let it extinguish the joy of my first-team debut.”

Barca faced too many difficulties with Umtiti’s repetitive injuries and Todibo loaned to Schalke back in January 2020. Barca had no option other than counting on the Uruguayan center back at times. But, he has surprised everyone with his consistent hard work and great defensive abilities and is now someone who Setien can count on when needed.

Early Career

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Ronald Araujo was born in Rivera, Uruguay, and started his career at local club Huracán de Rivera and a few months later he made the switch to second-tier outfit Rentistas. After just two years with Rentistas, Ronald Araujo was on the move once more, this time joining the Primera Division side Boston River. A great campaign in the Uruguayan top flight convinced FC Barcelona to secure his services in 2018 for a €1.7m fee to join for Barcelona B. After one and half-season he was handed his debut for FC Barcelona.

Playing Style

This is the style of Ronald Araújo, the new pearl for Barça's defense

Ronald Araujo is a player with excellent physical and defensive conditions, and hardly any  Segunda División B forward was able to beat him in a duel. Standing at 1.93 meters from the ground allows him to be an imposing figure in both areas. Ronald Araujo can play equally well with both feet, helping him to control the ball comfortably and unpredictability in tough situations. He has good aerial abilities and he has quite some pace. We have often seen him tracking back the opponents’ so well, something we haven’t seen Umtiti, Lenglet, and even Pique doing it.

Ronald Araujo is an attacking threat too as he has already bagged the first hat-trick of his career. Ronald Araujo has scored six goals for Barcelona B in 42 appearances only, and the majority of his strikes were a combination of determined headed efforts or poacher’s instincts from loose balls.

 FC Barcelona Career

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“I worked hard to make this opportunity happen. I am very happy and excited. I tried to enjoy it to the fullest.”

– Ronald Araujo

These were the words of Ronald Araujo after his first start against Mallorca. But during the whole 90 minutes, it seemed like he is playing for ages in that position for the team as he was very attentive to make a block or interception, recorded the most completed passes with 99 out of 104 attempts (95% accuracy), and had the joint-most clearances alongside Piqué, both with four.

Ronald Araujo did play it safe most of the time, but not earning much attention already shows that he was calm and polite and did nothing wrong. When a defender makes the headlines, that usually is because of a blatant error, but that was not the case for Ronald. Instead, he looked almost as experienced as others.

 What does the future hold for Ronald Araujo?

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With Pique turning 34 soon and inconsistency of Umtiti, Ronald Araujo can be the answer to many defensive questions for FC Barcelona. In only six appearances he has shown great potential and can be a starter alongside Lenglet. With the possible departure of Jean-Clair Todibo, Ronald can be an essential player for Barcelona. As most of the prominent players are in there 30s FC Barcelona will be looking to replace them soon so they can have a team for future with Ronald Araujo being only 21 can be the heart of the defense alongside Lenglet.

Ronald Araujo will start more matches next season, and Barcelona fans will be excited to see him play more for the Catalan giants. Let’s hope, like ‘his idol’ Pique, he will perform for many seasons consistently, and also learn more from him.

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