Ronald Araujo’s History and the Challenges He Faced Before Coming to Barcelona
Araújo could have joined Getafe, where Planes was working, when he first fielded a call from Sergio Cabrera, the dad of Espanyol defender Leandro, recommending the Uruguayan defender. Cabrera was coaching Araújo at Boston River at the time. Sources have confirmed to ESPN that Madrid were also keen and Sevilla sporting director Monchi thought he had a deal lined up at one point, before Planes joined Barça and took Araújo with him in 2019.
Araújo had started out as an attacker before moving to centre-back. Sources close to him credit sprint and marathon training as an adolescent for his “tremendous physique and fitness,” which has become one of the most essential elements of Barca’s ageing and injury-prone backline. He was sent off on his debut against Sevilla in 2019, but bounced back well and has since clocked up 65 first-team appearances.
Sources at the club recognise he can still improve on the ball in terms of adapting to Barca’s style, but also concede he is quite possibly the best defender at the club now — and add, only half-joking, “he has even been the best attacker when chasing games!” That’s why renewing his contract, which expires in 2023, is a priority, with ESPN sources aware that Premier League clubs are monitoring the situation.