Barcelona captain calms talk of rift between Ronald Araujo and Ilkay Gundogan | OneFootball

Barcelona captain calms talk of rift between Ronald Araujo and Ilkay Gundogan | OneFootball

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·19 April 2024

Barcelona captain calms talk of rift between Ronald Araujo and Ilkay Gundogan

Article image:Barcelona captain calms talk of rift between Ronald Araujo and Ilkay Gundogan

Barcelona captain Sergi Roberto has spoken publicly on the controversy surrounding star midfielder Ilkay Gundogan and Ronald Araujo, declaring it a non-issue.

Days ahead of El Clasico, much of the talk in Can Barca has been about a rift between Gundogan and Araujo, after the former called out Araujo and others for their mistakes in their defeat to Paris Saint-Germain. Araujo then fuelled those rumours by declining to give an opinion on Gundogan’s words, ‘in order to respect his codes and values’.

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Roberto confirmed there had been no ‘clear the air’ meeting between the two, and also claimed that Barcelona were keen for him to stay, beyond the end of his contract this summer.

“No meeting has been necessary because we are already together in the dressing room every day. It has been talked about, of course, mostly because of what has been generated outside, but to clarify that there is no problem with anyone. We are family.”

“I have read that the team is divided…far from it. Don’t look for problems where there aren’t any, the team is very united,” he commented to Movistar+, as carried by Diario AS.

“After a defeat like this there will always be noise and more so at this club. If they speak, the protagonists that is, they will say so. There has been no internal problem.”

Earlier in the day, former Barcelona captain Carles Puyol had opined on it, saying that he preferred to keep such matters inside the dressing room, but also did not give it too much importance, as he told MD.

“Everyone is free to say what they believe. I am in favour of these things being talked about within the dressing room. I also believe that he gave an opinion without bad intentions. Regarding Araujo’s play, defending is not easy, it’s a very quick action. He commits a foul and the one who least wanted it to be a foul is him. These are things that happen in football.”

“Many times these things have more impact in the press than inside the dressing room, we know perfectly well how all this works. We have to try not to say too many things externally, because then they can be interpreted in many ways. But I am convinced that he had no bad intentions. I don’t think it’s necessary for Xavi to bring anyone together. I think they will have already spoken in the dressing room and everything will be resolved.”

Despite the attempts to cool the talk, from Roberto and Puyol, there has been significant reporting about the matter, in minute detail. Sport say that Roberto and Marc-Andre ter Stegen are playing key roles in easing the tension. The former maintains good relations with all of the dressing room, with his good command of English helping to bridge the gap with the non-Spanish-speaking contingent. Ter Stegen has known Gundogan for many years, given they share a dressing room for Germany, and his position as an institution at the club allows him a privileged position to build bridges.

Whether the noise was overblown or not, in a difficult week, it has not helped Barcelona’s preparations for El Clasico on Sunday. While Real Madrid have been held up as the perfect team for their selfless defensive effort against Manchester City, Barcelona have looked divided and rudderless following their exit to PSG.

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