Barcelona stalwart Pique inspiring Araujo

By Guy Atkinson 30 January 2021 51
Barcelona stalwart Pique inspiring Araujo

Ronald Araujo says he is inspired by Gerard Pique as he bids to carve out a lasting career at Barcelona. 

The 21-year-old Uruguayan has played in 10 LaLiga games already this season after featuring in just six during his debut campaign for the Catalan giants in 2019-20. 

In those appearances he has completed eight blocks – three more than any other Barca player – made the second highest number of clearances (29) and has yet to be dribbled past by an opponent. 

His displays have earned him comparisons with club icon Pique and Araujo admits he looks to the 33-year-old, who has made 553 appearances for Barca, for inspiration. 

"His experience has always been one thing that I have looked at since I arrived and more now that I share a dressing room with him," he told Mundo Deportivo. 

"I like to look at the characteristics of each player but from Gerard I like to look at how he plays with the ball, which is something that I felt was missing from my play, and also that he is a defender who is not very fast but is always well positioned. 

"I pay attention to that a lot. Every day I try to get a little information out of him in every game and in every training session."

Araujo also praised the influence of goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, adding: "Marc speaks to me a lot, how to position myself or have peace of mind to play with the ball.

"Marc is very important and I always emphasise that he is always talking to us and is very important to us. 

"When he gives us the ball he already tells us where the opponent is coming from because he is looking straight ahead and these are very important references for us."

Araujo joined from Uruguayan side Boston River in August 2018 and is already thinking about spending the next decade at a club that has made a significant impact on him.  

"I work to be able to be here for many years, it is one of my goals and something that I would like," he said. 

"I really like Barca and everything that Barca is and I want to be here for many years. If there is the possibility of being here for 10 years I would be very happy. And then the rest, one day being a captain or whatever, that will come by itself. 

"The important thing is to continue being me and doing what I do every game and every training session and helping the team because it is my way of helping us to be connected and I myself feel connected when I am talking all the time. I can concentrate and I know that I help my colleagues."

Ronald Koeman's Barca, who are 10 points adrift of LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid, take on Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

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