Barcelona captain joins list of elite UCL defenders this season


BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 12: Victor Osimhen of SSC Napoli is challenged by Ronald Araujo of FC Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League 2023/24 round of 16 second leg match between FC Barcelona and SSC Napoli at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys on March 12, 2024 in Barcelona, Spain.
Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

There are few outcomes that could have gone better for Barcelona than what their reality ended up dictating. The Catalan giants managed to overcome Napoli with a resounding 3-1 scoreline, and now progress to the next stages of the Champions League. However, there were some notable performers for Barcelona who deserve praise.

Several of those performers were undoubtedly the defenders of FC Barcelona. The back line for the Catalan giants has been rather inconsistent this season, but they have thus far managed to impress whenever they have been called upon in the UEFA Champions League. From amongst their ranks, a certain Uruguayan goliath particularly stands out.

Still aged just 25, Ronald Araujo has cemented himself as one of the best central defenders in world football. His presence is reassuring itself for Barcelona, but the impact he physically brings simply can not be denied. In fact, as per a finding and report from SPORT, Araujo is part of a very special selection of defenders in the European competition this season.

The Uruguayan defender, as per the report, is one of the four defenders in the Champions League this season not to be dribbled past even once. This particular list only takes into account players who have played for more than 400 minutes and have been consistently challenged enough. Apart from Araujo, the other merited ones include Milan Skriniar, Andre Ramalho, and Nico Schlotterbeck.

Skriniar and Ramalho have already been eliminated, so it just leaves behind Araujo and Schlotterbeck as the only active defenders to not have been dribbled past this season in the Champions League. The Barcelona man, together with Pau Cubarsi, recently even managed to contain a top striker like Victor Osimhen with relative ease in the win over Napoli.

Moreover, despite all the external interest in him, the Barcelona defender remains committed to the club. This defensive reliability that he provides will be crucial for Barça this season as the Catalans enter the campaign’s decisive stretch. However, Araujo has been more than just a nightmare for dribblers.

In terms of clearances, the 25-year-old has reportedly made 67 this season, and has also directly blocked 14 shots that were aimed at the Barcelona goal. His leadership, on top of that, is just the cherry on the top to properly value just how crucial he is to Barcelona and Xavi Hernandez.

Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun is a life-long fan of FC Barcelona and an avid enjoyer of all things Blaugrana. Having fallen in love with the club for the way they defined football for him, he now spends his time watching games, analyzing the happenings in them, and digesting any and everything related to his beloved Catalan club. He also writes as an author for Barca News Network hoping to deliver the latest updates to his fellow ‘culés’.

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