Speaking to the media after Barcelona’s first training session on their pre-season tour in Miami, USA, Ronald Araujo discussed various topics ranging from the club’s development under Xavi Hernandez to the new signings that have been made this summer.
Barcelona have made several transfers already this summer, with Robert Lewandowski the latest to join, arriving from Bayern Munich in a deal worth €50 million including variables.
Reacting to the signing of the prolific 33-year-old Araujo said (h/t Mundo Deportivo): “We know his quality, it is tremendous that he is with us.”
Barcelona have also secured the signing of Raphinha from Leeds United, while also adding Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen, with both arriving on free transfers after their respective contracts with AC Milan and Chelsea expired.
Talking about the other new additions, Araujo said: “Raphinha, Christensen and Kessié have also arrived and it’s important that good players arrive so we can grow as a team.”
Ousmane Dembele also re-signed with the Blaugrana, penning a two-year contract after having seen his previous one expire on June 30. “We all wanted Dembele to continue at the club,” Araujo added, talking about the Frenchman.
With the addition of Christensen, there is increased competition for places in the centre-back department. And Araujo, who has established himself as a leader at the back for Barça, insisted that competition for the starting spots is always beneficial for the players.
“Competition is always good in football, because it makes you get the best out of yourself and the new players can contribute,” the Uruguayan international said.
Barcelona have also been heavily linked with a move for Sevilla defender Jules Kounde. When quizzed about the possibility of playing with the Frenchman, Araujo replied: “Kounde is a great player, and having the best at Barcelona is always a positive thing.”
The former Boston River defender also had good words for Gerard Pique. Hailing the veteran defender, the 23-year-old said: “I would describe Piqué as a captain and a benchmark.”
As for the development that the team has made under Xavi, Araujo said: “We have been growing since Xavi arrived. Perhaps we had lost our style of play but now it is recovering.”
Araujo also highlighted the importance of pre-season and the objectives for the upcoming campaign, saying: “It’s important to have a good preseason, at a tactical and physical level. I think it’s going to be a nice season. It’s important to win titles for the team, but we must go step by step.”