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Ronald Araujo: "At Barça they take risks all the time"


Highlights: Ronald Araujo is one of the new captains of Barcelona. The Uruguayan has been named as the leader of the least scoring defense in the League. The 24-year-old says he wants to be a good leader for the team, not just the individual. AraUjo: "If the best interests of the collective are above the individual, I would like to be the captain of the team" He says: "There is a sense of belonging to the place and the countryside, a culture of special sacrifice"

The Uruguayan prepares his landing in the group of captains of Barcelona, after winning the dressing room, but, above all, after consolidating himself as the leader of the least scoring defense in the League

As a child, when he returned from school, Ronald Araujo (Rivera, Uruguay; 24 years old) was shotgunned for Hurricane de Rivera. "I spent all day at the club," he recalls. It hasn't changed. It's Wednesday, Xavi Hernández has rested his players, but the Uruguayan works at the Ciudad Deportiva. He appears smiling in the press room, shakes hands and starts talking. He is friendly, close and has a thoughtful speech. He is already preparing his landing in the group of captains of Barcelona, after winning the dressing room, but, above all, after consolidating himself as the leader of the least scoring defense in the League, with memorable performances such as in the clashes against Vinicius in the classics.

Question. How have you experienced the latest episodes of racism?

Answer. It is important to counteract it. There should no longer be such comments. I suffered it several times. They tell you everything on the court. It's a shame that these things have to happen for people to realize what racism suffers. The message doesn't have to be just in football. This happens everywhere. And you have to be aware.

Q. Do you feel a little Brazilian?

A. Me? No, I'm more Uruguayan than candombe. My great-grandmother was from Brazil. It is true that, in Rivera we speak a dialect that is Portuñol, a mixture between Spanish and Portuguese. And, as we are on the border, we have many influences of Brazilian culture: you eat feijoada, you listen to music from Brazil...

Q. Does your football have something gaucho?

A. There is something in common between the footballers trained in the southern area of Brazil, those known as the gauchos, and those from the interior of Uruguay and Argentina. There is a sense of belonging to the place and the countryside, a culture of special sacrifice. My father worked in the forest. He would leave for 15 days, come back for the weekend, and leave for another 15 days.

Q. What was your childhood like?

A. Cute, very cute. I spent a lot of time with my mother, my grandmother and my siblings. But I had to study hard. Until I went to live in Montevideo, at the age of 17, the first thing was always high school. And when I wasn't doing well, my mother wouldn't let me go to training. That warmed me up. I always wanted to go to training. That's why I got good grades in school. I was a standard-bearer and everything.

Q. Why did it take you so long to play in Montevideo?

A. I had an offer to go to Boca when I was 10 years old, but my mother wouldn't let me. He said he was very young and had to study. Then the same thing happened to me with Peñarol and Nacional. I passed the tests, but my mother wanted me back in Rivera. He would let me go and live the experience, but I had to come back. There was a day I got hot. I had had many opportunities and never let me go.

Q. What argument did he give?

A. That, if my purpose was to be a football player, I was going to end up being a player. Let me stay calm. The normal thing is to be told that the train does not pass twice. But it does happen. If you work hard, it happens more times.

Q. How does a working family not be tempted by money?

A. My mother never put money ahead of anything. The most important thing was that we were well and close to home. They keep insisting on that, that money is not the most important thing.

Q. What do you think?

A. I think it's perfect. It happened to me when I renewed with Barça. I had offers from other teams, which were almost double, and I decided to stay.

Q. And now, that the club still did not register him?

A. There are always offers. But I'm very happy here.

Q. Were you offered to be captain?

A. If given the chance, I would like to.

Q. In the locker room, are you the link between youth and veterans?

A. I try to make it so. I always want everyone to be well, it happens to me with my family, with my friends and with the dressing room. If that's being a leader, then maybe I am. A good leader wants the best for the team, the interests of the collective are above the individual.

Q. Did he score goals when he played as a striker?

A. Yes, it dialed. I bumped into everyone and put them in. He had skill, he put steps in and all that.

Q. Did you forget how to do them now?

A. No, I can't do them now. They sent me to play behind. If you step on it and lose it... When I went up to first I was already pivoting. I even played several matches in that position. Like Busquets, but with less quality. He was the typical one who gets in front of the defense and scrapes everything.

Q. Is it very difficult to adapt to Barcelona?

A. Yes, and in my case, probably more, because everything happened to me very quickly. At 17 I was still playing for my hometown team. In addition, Uruguay's gaming culture was very different. Everything was more direct. The defender defended and nothing more.

Q. This season he has missed 16 games due to injury, does his way of playing condition it: the exaggeration in defending?

A. No, that's not why. I made bad decisions. Only now am I getting to know my body better. When I arrived, I forced a lot. I had never said it, but many times I played injured. The doctors told me I didn't have to play and I wanted to play anyway. Then, scars were created for me that I am only now healing well. This year I had the misfortune of the adductor injury, because of how it happened and because I wanted to be in the World Cup.

Q. If Uruguay passed the round, did it play?

A. Sure, sure. I was going to play.

Q. Do you enjoy just defending?

A. It's what I like the most. But, nowadays, that I have grown, when I do an action that initiates an attack for us I also enjoy it. It's cute. It is the fruit of labor. The people who are here have been doing this since they were eight years old. It comes more naturally to them. But I, with a lot of effort, have been able to show that I am growing. Not all players who play well in their teams could play for Barça.

Q. What do you have to have to succeed at Barcelona?

A. First, work. Also believe in yourself. And something extra, which is responsibility. It's the biggest club in the world, you have to deal a lot with the media. We are exposed to different situations. If you don't have your head centered, you can get down.

Q. What changed Xavi?

A. With Pimi [García Pimienta, his coach at Barça B] I learned a lot, especially in the day-to-day work. They showed me everything I needed to know when I arrived here at Barça. But with Xavi I took the biggest leap. He brought philosophy back to Barcelona.

Q. Is that true of philosophy?

A. At Barça you do things that other teams don't do, like taking risks all the time. Divide, find the third man.

Q. How do you stay calm then?

A. Experience gives you that. When I went up to the first team, with the fear of losing the ball, I played much more confident. Today, I take more risks. And Xavi gave us that. In addition to the fact that I work with him a lot: I analyze the games, I watch videos.

Q. Was the key to the title defense?

A. In the past seasons we had scored many goals and to win we always had to score. It was something we had to change, collectively, but also personally. With Marc we are always talking about that.

Q. Looking forward to working with Bielsa?

A. Yes, I am excited to work and learn from him. He is a great coach and I think he will give us a lot to the Uruguay national team. We have a young and very talented team. We are going to grow a lot with Bielsa.

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Source: elparis

All sports articles on 2023-06-07

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