The Uruguayan national team released their squad for the FIFA World Cup 2022 late on Thursday. And despite still recovering from an injury that needed surgery, Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo was named on the list of 26 players that will travel to Qatar.
The 23-year-old centre-half picked up a serious thigh injury back in September while on international duty with Uruguay. Instead of opting for conservative treatment for his injury, Araujo decided to undergo surgery, which cast serious doubts over his involvement in the World Cup.
However, Uruguay manager Diego Alonso deemed that his recovery thus far has been sufficient enough to take him to the World Cup. Barcelona also gave the green light to the former Boston River defender to travel, as long as he would be accompanied by a club physio.
Now, Directo Gol is reporting that Barcelona and the Uruguayan Football Federation have an agreement that Araujo will not be playing any matches in the group stages of the World Cup in Qatar.
Instead, the centre-back will only be called upon if Uruguay clear the first phase and make it to the knockout stages of the quadrennial tournament.
It would be a prudent move given that it will give Araujo even more time to recover fully and reduce the risk of his injury relapsing.
La Celeste have been drawn in a tricky Group H that also consists of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, Ghana and South Korea.
Given Araujo’s importance to the team, Uruguay could have certainly done with having him available for the group-stage games. But, there seems to be a gentleman’s agreement between everyone involved that the defender will only be played from the knockout phase