Gerard Pique has backed Ronald Araujo to be a pillar at the heart of Barcelona’s full back line for the next decade, the impressive young center-half currently in Pique’s absence.
Pique has not played for Barcelona since suffering knee ligament damage in the November loss to Atletico Madrid, but Araujo has stepped up and filled the void left by the veteran Spain.
The 21-year-old – who had made just six La Liga appearances before this season – has been a confident defensive figure, impressive with his reading of the game and his ability to play from behind.
Barcelona have played 10 games unbeaten in La Liga – their longest unbeaten run under Ronald Koeman – since Araujo secured a starting spot, and Pique is backing him to be the club’s future.
“Araujo is an excellent central defender, and will remain so for 10 or 15 years,” Pique said on the Barcelona club’s official website. “He has got everything. He is very young and has a very good head. In addition, he is physically strong, fast and powerful, and he has good ball control.
“La Masia is working very well and during his time at Segunda B with the youth team he has matured, and now with the first team he has seized the opportunity. We have to help him be the best possible player. ”
Pique is set to be sidelined until at least the end of March as he continues to recover from injury, but has revealed his progress to be positive.
“I am better than I expected,” added the defender. “I still need to run for many hours and get back to using the ball. I have made the decision to adopt a conservative method of recovering, and it seems to be working very well. ”
Lionel Messi’s future is never far from the forefront of the conversation around Barcelona – but Pique has remained coy about his teammate’s position at the club.
“Events have unfolded this summer and have ended in the best possible way because Leo has stayed at Barca,” said the World Cup winner. “I see him very happy at the moment and having him by my side is a guarantee of success.”