FC Barcelona

Gerard Pique hails Ronald Araujo's recent form for Barcelona

Ali Rampling
Pique was full of praise for Araujo
Pique was full of praise for Araujo / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Gerard Pique has backed Ronald Araujo to be a mainstay in the heart of the Barcelona backline for the next decade, with the young centre half currently impressing in Pique's absence.

Pique has not featured for Barcelona since suffering knee ligament damage during November's defeat to Atletico Madrid, but Araujo has stepped up and filled the void left by the Spanish veteran.

The 21-year-old - who had made just six La Liga appearances prior to this season - has been an assured defensive figure, impressing with his reading of the game and ability to play out from the back.

Barcelona have not lost in La Liga when Araujo has started this season
Barcelona have not lost in La Liga when Araujo has started this season / Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Barcelona have gone 10 games unbeaten in La Liga - their longest run without defeat under Ronald Koeman - since Araujo nailed down a starting berth, and Pique is backing him to be the future of the club.

"Araujo is a great centre-back, and will be for 10 or 15 years," Pique told Barcelona's official club website. "He has everything. He is very young and has a very good head. Also, he is physically strong, fast and powerful, and has good ball control.

"La Masia is working very well and during his time in Segunda B with the youth team he matured, and now with the first team he has taken the opportunity. We need to help him to be the best player possible."

Pique is poised to be sidelined until at least late March as he continues his recovery from injury, but revealed that his progress is positive.

"I'm better than I expected," the defender added. "I need to be running for many hours yet as well as getting back to using the ball. I made the decision to take a conservative method to recovery, and it looks like it's working really well." 

The future of Lionel Messi is never far away from the forefront of the conversation surrounding Barcelona - but Pique remained coy on his teammate's position at the club.

"Events happened in the summer that ended in the best possible way because Leo stayed at Barca," the World Cup winner said. "I see him very happy right now and having him by my side is a guarantee of success."