Just in: Barcelona star injured 20 seconds into international friendly
Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo picked up a muscular injury 20 seconds into Uruguay’s 1-0 international friendly defeat to Iran on September 23.
Diego Alonso had selected Araujo in the Sky Blues’ defense against Iran but was withdrawn just 20 seconds into the match as he complained about a muscular problem.
Uruguayan journalist Martin Charquero has stated:
“Unusual. At 20 seconds, Ronald Araujo’s muscle injury. The sirens sound in Uruguay and in Barcelona.”
Araujo has made an impressive start to the new season with Barca having been deployed by Xavi Hernandez in a makeshift right-back role.
He has made seven appearances for the Blaugrana and is thoroughly expected to be first-choice for Uruguay at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Uruguay are in Group H at the World Cup alongside Portugal, Ghana and South Korea.
However, there will be concern over the defender’s fitness with just 58 days until the tournament in Qatar kicks off.
It comes a day after Araujo’s Barca teammates Frenkie de Jong and Memphis Depay were also substituted during international duty with Netherlands due to injuries.
Luckily, De Jong’s problem doesn’t appear too serious with Dutch national team manager Louis van Gaal stating:
“Frenkie de Jong was taken off out of precaution. He was feeling tension in his muscles which is why I took him off. But he told me that he expects to play against Belgium.”
However, Depay’s injury may be one of real concern with Van Gaal adding:
“It’s a shame that Memphis had to go off with this injury, it doesn’t bode well… I don’t see him playing against Belgium.”
Meanwhile, Barca centre-back Jules Kounde has returned to the club early from international duty having incurred an injury in training with France.
Barcelona defender Araujo praised by Uruguay manager Alonso
Alonso has lauded Araujo’s versatilty having seen the defender play at both right-back and centre-back for Barcelona this season.
He said (via FCBN):
“(Not) with us, but yes with Barcelona (he) has had the opportunity to act in some circumstance (from right-back). It is a more complete footballer when having alternatives. More hit to the band, or more to the centre, gives him more tools to grow and develop in his career”.
Araujo joined Barca from Uruguayan outfit Boston River for £4.23 million back in 2018.
He has gone on to make 89 appearances, scoring six goals and winning the Copa del Rey in 2021.
Barca will be hoping he does not face a lengthy spell on the sidelines as he has been of huge importance to Xavi’s defense.