Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo may only still be 23 but has already been tipped to captain the side at some point in the future due to his undeniable leadership qualities.
The Uruguayan, who has just put pen to paper on a new long-term deal at Barcelona, has now spoken about the possibility of taking over the armband and admits it would be a thrill.
Araujo told Diario Sport that he is in no rush to become captain but does feel like a natural leader when he is out on the pitch.
“I’m not working to be a captain. If the possibility arises in the future, it’s welcome because it would be something tremendous, but everything comes naturally to me,” he explained. “I like to be like that, encourage my teammates, not only on the pitch. I also ask them about other things, because I think it’s good that we’re all plugged in. We all want to win and to achieve it, it is good that we are all good.”
Sergio Busquets is Barcelona’s current captain but is heading towards the end of his phenomenal career. The 33-year-old’s contract expires in 2023 and he has been tipped to end his career in Major League Soccer.
Follow the Heavy on Barcelona Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Pique Shows Araujo The Way
Araujo also spoke about his teammate Gerard Pique, another player who is nearing retirement. The center-back turned 35 in February but remains a vital player for the Catalan giants.
Pique and Araujo have become Xavi’s first-choice central defensive pairing at the club this season, and the Uruguay international admits he has learned a lot from his teammate.
“By his side you learn a lot. He is one of my reference points. I admire him a lot, since I came to the club. He is not that fast, but he is very smart. He is always well placed, he is great on the ball,” he said. “He is one of the best centre-backs in the world, he has won everything, he is a world champion. These years by his side have been very useful to me because I always tried to get all the juice out of it I could.
Pique has been a virtual ever-present for Barca this season but is expected to miss the team’s final four La Liga matches of the season because of an adductor injury.
Xavi’s Advice To Araujo
Another man who has given Araujo plenty of advice is Xavi. The defender explained how the coach has helped improve his game since he replaced Ronald Koeman as coach in 2021.
“Above all, he lets me be me. He gives me the freedom to be able to speak, to be able to scream if necessary, to encourage my colleagues. I am learning a lot with the ball. It is something that had been lost in recent years,” said Araujo. “That philosophy that the defense has to bring out the ball had been lost. The truth is that since I joined the first team it was something that we were not doing and with Xavi we are recovering it. He shows me videos of the mistakes I make, of the things I do well. Since Xavi’s arrival I’ve been growing a lot with the ball.”
Araujo has cemented his place in the starting XI this year and looks to have a big future ahead of him at the Camp Nou. The club’s decision to put a €1 billion buy-out clause in his new contract shows just how highly he is valed at Barcelona.