Barcelona and Xavi have suffered a major blow as it has emerged that Ronald Araujo may not play this year after he required surgery on an injury picked up while on international duty.
Araujo was injured after just five minutes against Iran, and was initially thought to be set to miss 2-3 weeks. A Barcelona statement revealed that “he has an avulsion fracture of the adductor longus tendon in his right thigh. He too is going to be out of action until the injury heals”.
However, as per ESPN, this healing process could in fact be far longer after surgery became unavoidable, leaving him a major doubt for the upcoming World Cup, which begins in November.
He will, therefore, also miss all of Barcelona’s games before the tournament, which includes the remainder of the Champions League group stage, as he recovers.
It comes as a major blow to Barca, with Araujo having started all six of their La Liga fixtures so far, while he also started their Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich.
There is also the added complication of an injury to Jules Kounde, which is expected to see him sidelined for a month, while two more injuries to Frenkie de Jong and Memphis Depay round out what has been a horror international break for the Blaugrana.
At present, the options at Xavi’s disposal at centre-back are limited to just summer addition Andreas Christensen, former Manchester City centre-back Eric Garcia or veteran Gerard Pique.