Barcelona center-back Ronald Araujo has been ruled out of action with a hamstring injury and is expected to miss the next four weeks.
The Uruguay international replaced the suspended Gerard Pique in the starting XI against Juventus on Wednesday in the Champions League but was forced off at half-time after picking up the problem during the opening 45 minutes.
Barca offered an update on his current status on Thursday and confirmed he is set for a spell on the sidelines in a statement on their official website.
Test on Thursday have revealed that Ronald Araujo has a femoral biceps (hamstring) injury in his right leg and his availability will now depend on how the injury develops.
Araujo is expected to miss the next 3-4 weeks and is definitely out of Barca’s next three games against Alaves, Dynamo Kiev, and Real Betis, according to Javier Miguel at AS. Domestic football is then put on hold for the international break which will give Araujo time to recover before Barca’s next fixture against Atletico Madrid on November 21.
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Araujo Played With Injury
Araujo played through the pain barrier against Juventus, according to ESPN’s Moises Llorens. The 21-year-old took to the pitch despite the club knowing he had a “small tear” and “played until he couldn’t anymore.”
The center-back was needed because of Pique’s suspension and also because back-up option Óscar Mingueza also picked up an injury before the match, leaving manager Ronald Koeman desperately short of options at center-back.
Araujo was replaced by midfielder Frenkie de Jong at half-time against Juventus. The Netherlands international partnered Clement Lenglet for the second half and helped Barca keep a clean sheet.
The defender’s injury means Koeman now has Pique and Lenglet as his only fit center-backs. The Dutch coach could turn to De Jong again in defense if needed, while Sergio Busquets could also play in the backline if required.
Double Boost for Barcelona
Araujo now joins Philippe Coutinho on Barcelona’s injured list, but the club has received a boost elsewhere. First-choice goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and defender Samuel Umtiti were back in training on Thursday and are close to a return to action.
Ter Stegen’s return will be a big boost to the Catalan giants even though deputy Neto has performed well in his absence. The Germany international has been out of action since undergoing knee surgery in August.
Umtiti’s return is also well-timed with Araujo now sidelined. The Frenchman has had a tough time with injuries in the last two seasons but spoke to Canal Football Club about the changes he has made to improve his physical condition, as reported by Get French Football News.
I have become vegan, I do not eat meat, nor fish. I really pay attention to all that. All the vegetable proteins, which do me good. Pasta, I don’t eat that anymore. My body feels a lot better. I have lost 3kgs, I needed to. I have never felt so good physically. I have cut and gained in muscle at the same time, I have never worked this much, never down to the minutiae of each detail. I think that this will make the difference.
The World Cup winner made just 13 La Liga appearances last season, and his lack of football means there are doubts over whether he can regain the form and fitness that made him such a key player for Barca after he first arrived from Lyon.