Barcelona and Uruguay at war over Ronald Araujo injury treatment

World Cup 2022 briefing: Day 5

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Barcelona and Uruguay are at war over Ronald Araujo with the La Liga giants sending two physios to monitor the 23-year-old’s day-to-day progress. The defender has not played since the end of September after undergoing surgery for an adductor issue but is still part of the La Celeste squad at the World Cup. 

Araujo tends to play right-back for his national team despite regularly featuring at centre-back at club level. He has missed the last two months with injury and played no part in Uruguay’s opening match against South Korea as he continues his recovery. He is also expected to play no part against Portugal next Monday but could return in the final group game, the grudge match against Ghana. 

Veteran defender Martin Caceres will play in his place but the South Americans are likely to want Araujo back in the side as soon as possible given his obvious quality. This could put them on a collision course with Barcelona and their representatives within the camp. 

Two physios from the La Liga leaders have reportedly joined up with Uruguay according to Mundo Deportivo. The pair will oversee the work of the Uruguayan federation medic Dr Pan and can request a second opinion from a delegation of three agreed upon by both parties if they believe he is being rushed back too soon. The trio come from Spain, Argentina and Paraguay.

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Talks have taken place between Uruguay’s head coach Diego Alonso and Barca boss Xavi as to how to manage the injury, with a formal document setting out the process that both parties must take. The South American manager has also stressed he will not rush Araujo back during a pre-match press conference, insisting the player’s ‘body’ will decide when he makes his return to the field.

Barcelona and Uruguay have previously had dealings with each other with Luis Suarez carrying an injury during the 2016 Copa America campaign. Dr Pan was also the Uruguayan doctor at the time and refused to let the striker play in the second match of the tournament against Venezuela, despite his protestations. 

The team went on to lose the match and were knocked out of the competition in the group stages as a result. 

Uruguay are not expected to suffer the same result at the World Cup, with many tipping them to earn a place in the knockout stage alongside Portugal from Group H. An all South American clash against Brazil is one of the mouth-watering possibilities in the round of 16 should they progress. 

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