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Athletic Club manager heaps praise on Barcelona defender: “Extraordinary spirit and desire to learn”

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Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Barcelona and Athletic Club face off at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys later this weekend in what will be one of the matchday’s biggest clashes.

The Catalans currently sit third on the league standings with 21 points after nine games. Their opponents are not far behind, with just a four-point and two-place gap to Barcelona on the leaderboard.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s clash, current Athletic Club and former Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde gave his two cents on a number of topics, a plethora of which had to do with the Blaugranas.

Interestingly, he spoke in depth about Ronald Araujo, a player who made his debut for the Catalan first team under his tutelage.

“Araujo is a player with an extraordinary spirit and desire to learn. The entry he has had in the team has been very good and that impulse he has to go forward and learn have helped him,” Valverde said.

“Technically he has been settling down and I see him as an important player at Barça,” he added on the Uruguayan.

Araujo made his first-team debut under Ernesto Valverde. (Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images)

Valverde then delved deep into the topic of Barcelona playing the season at a foster home in Montjuic and whether it foiled any of their plans for the new season.

“I don’t know, so far they have been complete and winning all the games. It hasn’t affected them. The important thing is that it is a good team, with a good coach and players who know the game model well. I see them playing very well and last year they were champions,” he said.

The Atlhetic Club boss then admitted that Barcelona would always be in the headlines for a plethora of reasons and that one must not read too much into the same.

“There is always media noise around the team and we are all used to that background noise. But this is football, eleven against eleven, a field, and good players.”

Finally, the former coach was faced with a question about Inigo Martinez who left Athletic Club for Barcelona in the recent summer transfer window.

“I focus on the players we have. He’s a great player, that’s why Xavi noticed him. We wish him all the best. Here he played great games, he was a great professional,” he said.

Source: Mundo Deportivo

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