‘Having Him Is an Advantage’ – Xavi Hypes Barcelona Star Before El Clasico

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez has talked up center-back Ronald Araujo ahead of Sunday’s crunch Clasico clash against bitter rivals Real Madrid at the Camp Nou in La Liga.

Araujo has become one of the first names on Xavi’s teamsheet due to his impressive form and will play a key role against Los Blancos. The Uruguayan is expected to be once again deployed at right-back on Sunday to counter the threat of Vinicius Junior.

Xavi spoke about the center-back at his pre-match press conference and made it clear just how highly he rates the 24-year-old defender, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.

“Ronald is very strong, fast, he intuits well. He is a physical marvel. He is responsible, a leader, a winner in aggressive duels. He is a world-class defender,” he told reporters. “One of the best in the world. Having him is an advantage. Normally he wins his duels with Vinicius but he remains dangerous. He has extraordinary value for Madrid.”

The two teams have already met on three occasions this season, with Barca winning twice. The Catalans enjoyed a 3-1 victory in the final of the Spanish Super Cup and a 1-0 win at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final tie.

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Araujo Praises Vinicius

Araujo has been full of praise for Vinicius as he prepares to face the Brazil international once again. The winger has 8 goals and 4 assists so far in La Liga this season, and Araujo told ESPN he’s a difficult opponent, as reported by AS.

“At the moment, I think Vinícius is the number one attacking player in the world when it comes to one-on-one situations. He’s a very good player, he’s a difference-maker,” he said. “Playing against him is difficult, obviously. But I work hard to be able to do my best in matches like this. I’m glad things are going well.”

Araujo has been part of a rock-solid defence at Barcelona this season. The Catalans have the best backline in Europe’s top five leagues and have conceded just eight times so far in La Liga.

Xavi Talks Araujo’s Improvement

Xavi has been happy to praise Araujo this season. The coach has already admitted he’s the player who has “grown the most” since he took over, and he’s now expanded on how the defender has improved.

“Ronald’s improvement is with a lot of video. Our training sessions are based on decision-making,” he said. “At first it was difficult for him, but in a very short time he has improved a lot. He sees that he has room for improvement, he is very involved. It is very easy to train Ronald Araujo.”

Araujo has already been tipped to be a future captain of Barcelona due to his obvious leadership skills.  The Uruguayan has admitted it would be “tremendous” to be handed the captain’s armband and it would no surprise to see him leading the team out at some point in the future.

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