Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo has become one of the best in La Liga over the past 24 months. When fit, he seems almost impossible to pass, so much so that Xavi Hernandez deliberately pits him against arguably the best dribbler in Spain, Vinicius Junior.
Speaking to BarcaTV, in an interview carried by Sport, the imposing Uruguayan put that improvement down to his manager.
“Xavi has contributed a lot to me. And also his staff. With him I have taken a step forward. From the beginning he has been teaching me, we watch videos, we analyse plays and we are seeing the evolution.”
Ahead of the Copa del Rey El Clasico on Thursday, Araujo also recalled when he was first played at right-back in order to combat Vinicius. It could scarcely have gone better, with Barcelona winning 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu last season.
“I remember that he told me that I would play at full-back to counteract their best player, who is Vinicius, and he was clear about the role in the game. The team did very well. I was able to contribute and help with a goal. It was a special one. We needed to win. Very happy. I like to work on set pieces and the goal came off and it was very beautiful.”
Araujo’s biggest improvement has come with the ball at his feet though. Xavi has mentioned him as the most improved player since he arrived at the club, and Araujo exhibited the wider range of passing and increased confidence he has on the ball against Manchester United. At one point he played an arcing long switch to Alejandro Balde on the left wing, launching an attack from nothing.
“Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo has become one of the best in La Liga over the past 24 months”
Bless your comic heart, youre hugely amusing sometimes.