Reports have repeatedly surfaced over recent weeks of a disconnect between the Uruguayan FA (AUF) and Barcelona, as they clash over the fitness of Ronald Araujo.
The central defender suffered a muscle injury against Iran in September, which then required surgery. He was set to be out for 2-3 months, but aware of the player’s desire to attend the World Cup, Araujo was given permission to carry out his recovery with the Uruguayan national team.
Amid reports that he might play ahead of time, Mundo Deportivo asked Barcelona President Joan Laporta whether he was concerned about Araujo being rushed back.
“It’s a big worry, we know the enthusiasm of the players to go to the World Cup, that’s why Ronald wanted to go and Xavi made the right decision with some conditions. We have two members of our medical team with the Uruguay team and we want him not to be exposed to a relapse. There are signs that he is training in some way, I hope they are prudent and that the player’s health prevails above all.”
Now a fresh detail about Araujo’s injury has been revealed that perhaps lends more context to Barcelona’s concern.
Araujo was injured after a sprint in the first minute of a friendly against Iran, in a fairly innocuous action. The day before that match, Uruguay had an intense double training session, a physical load for the player that was ‘unthinkable’ for the Barcelona medical staff.
If the Blaugrana suspect this may have something to do with the injury, their frustration makes much more sense. Particularly given Araujo’s poor injury record, Barcelona are likely to be far more sensitive to matters of fitness. He is amongst Barcelona’s best defenders, but has been available for just half of the season so far. Given this news has emerged just a day after Laporta gave an interview to the same paper, it seems likely the information might have come directly or indirectly from him.