Barcelona are to be without defender Ronald Araujo for at least two extra games, as Manager Xavi Hernandez tries to protect arguably his best defender.
Araujo has been injury prone since arriving at the club, but when he is fit the Uruguayan tends to be transformative for his side. On the 17th of August against Cadiz, Araujo came off and was discovered to have a thigh muscle tear, which ruled him out for around a month.
That would potentially see him available for their return to action in La Liga against Real Betis, on the 16th of August. Yet Sport say that Barcelona and Xavi will go as slowly as they need to with Araujo, and have all but ruled out of the Betis tie and their Champions League clash against Royal Antwerp the following Tuesday.
At the earliest it looks as if he will be back on the 23rd of September against Celta Vigo at home. The following ties are against Real Mallorca away in midweek, then a home tie against Sevilla.
Barcelona’s defence has looked less than convincing without Araujo, conceding thrice against Villarreal, and failing to keep a clean sheet against Osasuna. With Betis operating smoothly in the early stages of the season, with two wins, a draw against Atletico Madrid, and one hiccup against Athletic Club, Barcelona will be on high alert against Los Verdiblancos. In addition, former player Ez Abde should be available to Manuel Pellegrini.