While Barcelona had the largest representation during the World Cup – 16 players, some of them did not quite have the role they would have wanted.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen, for example, one of the best goalkeepers in the world this season, had to play second fiddle to Manuel Neuer. Alejandro Balde only got some spare minutes when Jordi Alba was benched.
The worst case, however, has to be that of Ronald Araujo’s. Still nursing an injury, the Uruguayan travelled to Qatar with special permission from Barça.
He had apparently received the medical green light to play in the knockout stages, but Uruguay were eliminated during the group stages itself.
During the group stages, though, there was a ton of controversy surrounding his participation, with Uruguay ready to rush him into action vs Ghana. The constant tussle between Barcelona and his NT has left an emotional impact on the player, as per a report by Mundo Deportivo (h/t Barça Centre).
The player needs some rest before returning to training with Barcelona, and has been given some time off by the club.
Araujo was expected to play in the group stages of the World Cup, either way. He had passed his medical exams, and told the media, “I was physically fine to play in the round of 16“.
Unfortunately, following an underwhelming 0-0 draw against South Korea on the opening day and then a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Portugal, Uruguay’s hopes were left largely on the final day.
And despite registering an impressive 0-2 win against Ghana, they were unable to book their place in the knockout stages of the tournament courtesy of Hee-Chan Hwang’s late winner against Portugal.
At 23, Araujo will have multiple more chances to play in the World Cup with Uruguay. However, this was his only and last opportunity to share the pitch with their golden generation