Barcelona centre back Ronald Araujo has picked up an ankle injury and is at risk of missing both legs of the Champions League last 16 tie with Paris Saint-Germain.
The 21-year-old has been one of Barcelona’s best defenders this season and made his 11th start of the season in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Real Betis, but he managed just 11 minutes of action before appearing to catch his studs in the turf and injure his ankle.
Barcelona confirmed on their official website that tests showed Araujo had picked up a left ankle sprain, but club officials were reluctant to put a date on his recovery and instead stated his progress would dictate when he is given the green light to return.
However, ESPN go into a little more detail about Araujo’s injury. It’s feared that the Uruguayan could miss up to a month of action which, if true, would see him miss several high-profile fixtures.
In La Liga, Barcelona are set to face Alaves, Cadiz, Elche, Sevilla and Osasuna, but the biggest problem for Ronald Koeman is that Araujo may also miss the Copa del Rey semi-final against Sevilla and the Champions League tie with PSG.
The first leg will be played on February 16, so the chances of Araujo making it back for that are slim to none, but all eyes will be on whether he is fit enough to make a comeback in the return leg, which is pencilled in for March 10.
With Araujo sidelined, Koeman will have to call on two of Oscar Mingueza, Clement Lenglet, and Samuel Umtiti, but Mingueza may also be forced to play out on the right following the injury to Sergi Roberto.
Gerard Pique should also not be discounted as an option. The 34-year-old, who went down with a nasty knee injury in November, was not initially expected back anytime soon, but he has made real progress in his recovery and recently returned to light training.
The club’s medical staff have been stunned by Pique’s recovery, but while he hopes to get back on the pitch as soon as possible, it’s assumed that the first leg against PSG will come too soon for the centre back.
He may well be given some minutes in La Liga over the coming weeks to determine whether he is ready to play in the return leg against PSG, but Barcelona are wary of making his injury worse by rushing him back.
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