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Barcelona key defender will start against FC Porto after not playing vs Rayo Vallecano

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Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images

Barcelona’s poor form continues as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Rayo Vallecano – a result that could set them back significantly in the race for the league title.

One of the biggest surprises of the game saw Ronald Araujo, who was widely expected to captain the squad, miss out on the starting eleven.

The Uruguayan international started on the bench, with Inigo Martinez and Andreas Christensen forming the central defensive pairing.

Ronald Araujo to play on Tuesday

According to SPORT, though, Ronald Araujo is all set to participate for Barcelona in their upcoming game against FC Porto on Tuesday.

It is going to be an important game for the Catalans, knowing a win could help seal a spot in the knockout rounds of the Champions League.

This is especially important given the fact that Barça have been knocked out of the group stages for the past two consecutive seasons.

Araujo to play a key role on Tuesday (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

The presence of Araujo could, therefore, be critical as Barcelona look to avoid yet another disappointing result that might draw the fate of their UCL campaign until the last matchday.

Why did Araujo not start against Vallecano?

Araujo was fit enough to start the game. However, his absence in the starting eleven was part of Xavi’s plan to shake up the squad and hand some rest to the important players.

The Barça coach had one eye on the Porto game on Tuesday and it appears he has prioritised UCL knockout round qualification over anything else.

That is why Xavi decided to rest not just Araujo, but also Jules Kounde. Even Ilkay Gundogan, Raphinha, Joao Felix, and Fermin Lopez did not start at the Vallecas.

It is also worth mentioning that Barcelona have been boosted by the return of Frenkie de Jong while Sergi Roberto, too, may return soon, giving the Catalans a significant boost.

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