Ronald Araújo’s struggles continue despite FC Barcelona’s victory against Valencia

FC Barcelona clinched a commendable victory against Valencia, yet defensive lapses continued to haunt them in Monday night’s Liga encounter. Among the culprits of the evening, Ronald Araújo finds himself once again under scrutiny.

On Monday night, FC Barcelona triumphed over Valencia (4-2) at the Lluís Companys de Montjuïc stadium, marking the 33rd round of Liga fixtures. However, the match was marred by yet another mistake from Ronald Araújo and controversies surrounding the refereeing decisions. It seems like a familiar tale for both the Catalan club and the Uruguayan defender. Once deemed indispensable and a key figure, Araújo now appears a shadow of his former self. In the winter transfer window, Barcelona rebuffed Bayern Munich’s advances, despite a substantial offer of around €80 million. This decision reflected Araújo’s significance to the team and his leadership in defence.

Xavi, the Spanish coach, provided his perspective on the match: “It’s a positive analysis because we won. We played well, but specific errors cost us against a more aggressive and uncomfortable Valencia. The goals came from set-pieces. Two corners, one foul. These are areas we’ve been working on, although I would have liked us to create more chances with an extra man in the second half.” Xavi, who recently confirmed his stay with the Blaugrana for the next season, refrained from singling out individuals for errors this time. Nevertheless, the verdict remains consistent: Ronald Araújo is struggling to find form.

Unrecognisable Performance Against Valencia

Controversy took centre stage during the Barcelona-Valencia match. Similar to the Champions League quarter-final second leg against PSG, Uruguayan centre-back Ronald Araújo found himself at the centre of the action at Montjuïc on Monday night. A brilliant header by Fermín López, assisted by Raphinha, gave Barcelona the lead in the 22nd minute. However, it took just ten minutes for that advantage to evaporate. A misjudgment by Marc-André ter Stegen outside his box allowed Hugo Duro to equalise for Valencia. In the 36th minute, Araújo, rushing back, attempted a sliding tackle on Peter, resulting in a penalty. Referee Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea pointed to the spot without hesitation, and Pepelu converted it calmly. Eduardo Iturralde González, a former referee and current analyst, offered his perspective: “He manages to touch the ball, but the way he entered was reckless. Araújo can’t argue it’s not a penalty. Even if he’s solely contesting the ball, it’s a yellow card, not red.”

MARCA remarked, “The Uruguayan centre-back is enduring challenging weeks. He already made a grave error against PSG, and today he misjudged his tackle again. Araujo committed a penalty on Peter, who caused significant problems throughout the match.” Despite this blunder, Xavi refrained from criticising his player, recognising Araújo’s youth and learning process: “Araujo and a few other players are still very young. They’re learning. He needs to control certain details. He’s made mistakes, but he’s also bailed us out on numerous occasions.” The repercussions of a Champions League elimination can be particularly severe. Ronald Araujo is learning this the hard way. Identified as the primary culprit in the disappointment against PSG (1-4) for leaving his teammates with ten men after just half an hour, and even publicly criticized by Ilkay Gündogan, the Uruguayan is witnessing a significant downturn in his standing with FC Barcelona and its management.

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