“He’s one of the best defenders in the world” – Xavi heaps praise on ‘tremendous corrector’

Gerard Pique was one of the greatest central defenders in Barcelona’s history, amassing over 600 appearances in a glittering career at the club.

He was a leader at the club, and although he wasn’t a regular starter by the time he announced his retirement, his departure left a whole in the squad that needed to be filled. Although Ronald Araujo was already in the squad with Pique, he has stepped up since he has left Barca.

Having suffered a thigh injury against Iran in September, Araujo missed the majority of the opening phase of the season. Had he been available, perhaps Barcelona would still be in the Champions League. The team missed the Uruguayan during his absence, but he is making up for lost time now.

He was exceptional in last weekend’s nervy victory against Atletico Madrid at the Metropolitano, after which head coach Xavi Hernandez sung his praises. He had another good showing against Betis on Thursday, despite conceding twice. Xavi knows how good the 23-year-old, and has been delighted with him.

“Ronald is defensively extraordinary, perhaps he’s one of the best in the world. He’s a tremendous corrector for us. Having him gives us security and leadership. It’s an option for him to play as a fullback.”

Araujo has filled in at right back during his time at Barca, and with strength-in-depth lacking in the position, he may be called upon to play there in tomorrow’s El Clasico final against Real Madrid.

Tags Barcelona Ronald Araujo Xavi
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