On Thursday, Barcelona travel to Naples in the hope of securing qualification to the next round of the UEFA Europa League. The Catalans could only manage a draw at Camp Nou last week and now find themselves in a must-win situation to see off Napoli.
The central defence has been a constant worry for Xavi Hernandez this season. Ronald Araujo’s recent injury put his participation in the past few games under doubt, while Gerard Pique’s suspension saw him miss the weekend’s clash against Valencia.
According to Mundo Deportivo, there is good news for Xavi heading into the clash in Italy. Ronald Araujo completed the last game without any discomfort and is available for selection against the Serie A side. Moreover, Pique’s return from suspension ensures his availability on the night too.
The combination of Pique and Araujo has been Xavi’s first-choice pairing this season. Though Eric Garcia’s recent return to form has made a strong case for his inclusion, the Spanish-Uruguayan combination has prevailed.
Ronald Araujo started the game against Valencia amidst many surprises, for it was anticipated that the player would be rested for the clash on Thursday.
However, Xavi later revealed that he had personally requested Araujo to play at Mestalla. “I asked Ronald to make the effort to play because we needed him,” said the 42-year-old manager.
At this stage in the campaign, every game is a must-win for Xavi’s side. Coming off the back of a splendid display against Valencia, Barcelona will be pumped to ride the momentum and see off a difficult opposition at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium.