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A leader in the making, Araujo talks ahead of Athletic Bilbao clash

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Photo via Imago

At this point, it is no new news that Barcelona, despite having four players (Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto) who regularly share the captain’s armband, lack leaders within their squad. Marc-Andre ter Stegen has been talked about a lot in the past few years as the only leader in the squad.

To their surprise, though, Barça might just have a player who can become their captain without the armband – a phrase often used for Javier Mascherano in the past – in the form of none other than the breakout star in the heart of the defence, Ronald Araujo.

Every time the Uruguayan takes on the pitch, not only does he deliver a faultless performance, but also seems to lead the side from the backline. He was interviewed alongside Koeman ahead of the Bilbao clash as part of the pre-game press conference, where he sounded mature well beyond his years, saying, “Being a leader is one of the characteristics that I have, the character, the imposing. I think it’s something nice because it helps me and it helps the team. I like to be talking at all times.”

Araujo was seen talking to the team prior to the penalty shoot-out against Real Sociedad, and was asked about the same: “That was a difficult moment and I remember that I told them to enjoy the moment, shoot calmly, that we had good scorers and whatever happens we had to keep our heads high because we had played a great game.”

A true leader understands his weaknesses better than anyone else. Araujo, while an absolute rock at the back, lacks the composure most Barça defenders usually display. The 21-year-old understands the same, and said, “I like to look at how Pique plays with the ball, something that I feel I lack. I can learn from him. He is also a defender who is not very fast but always well positioned, I pay attention to that a lot. I try to squeeze a bit of info out of him every game and session.”

Araujo has come through the Barcelona B team, but before that, he had plied his trade in the Uruguayan top-flight with Boston River. He recites his story when he got to know about Barça’s interest in him, and said, “I was in Uruguay, taking a nap, and I suddenly got a call from my agent. I wake up and he said ‘get ready, you are coming here on Sunday’. I said ‘where?’. He said ‘I’d rather not tell you’, and I said ‘no, tell me’. He said there was a chance of signing for Barça.”

If everything goes to players, it will not be long before we see the #4 donning the armband that has gone through some legendary players.

Source: BarçaTV+

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