Barcelona star Ronald Araujo’s injury during Uruguay’s international friendly against Iran last month came as a bitter blow to both his club and country.
The 23-year-old has firmly established himself as a mainstay in the heart of the Barça defence and had started the season like a house on fire. He was also seen as an integral part of Uruguay’s plans ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
But the hamstring injury and the subsequent surgery meant that Araujo was sidelined for close to three months at the very least.
Despite that, Uruguay are still carrying the hope that the defender can return in time for the quadrennial event that will kick off next month in Qatar.
To that end, manager Diego Alonso has included Araujo in the provisional squad that he has named for the World Cup. The squad list, which contains as many as 56 players, will be whittled down to 26 in time for the tournament in Qatar.
If a player is not included in the provisional squad, he cannot be added to the roster later, which is why Alonso has decided to name Araujo on the list, so that he can be part of the final roster in case his recovery is complete ahead of time.
“I told Araujo that we would wait for him until the end. We still believe that there’s a chance for him to play in the World Cup. We’ll see how he recovers. Hopefully, he will make it in time,” Alonso had said last month.
As things stand, the chances of that happening look slim. But Uruguay remain hopeful that and have decided to include Araujo in the provisional squad.