Ronald Araujo makes surgery decision as another Barcelona defender misses training

  • Ronald Araujo set to wear protective mask for upcoming Barcelona games
  • Centre-back suffered fractured jaw in recent win over Atletico Madrid
  • Andreas Christensen absent from Thursday training but available for Sunday

Araujo will keep on playing
Araujo will keep on playing / Eric Alonso/GettyImages

Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo is set to wear a protective mask for Sunday night's Catalan derby against La Liga surprise package Girona that will allow him to play with a fractured jaw.

Araujo suffered the injury during last weekend's crucial win over Atletico Madrid, his face coming into accidental contact with the boot of Atletico midfielder Marcos Llorente.

Mundo Deportivo has reported that Araujo refused surgery on the facial injury so that he is not ruled out against Girona other important upcoming matches. As such, he opted for a mask in training on Thursday and will continue to wear it until his jaw is sufficiently healed.

Araujo's importance for Barca is growing due to the current absence of goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who has been wearing the captain's armband for most of the season. And with first captain Sergi Roberto not a regular starter even when fit, third captain Araujo has led the side in the last two games.

Ronald Araujo
Ronald Araujo fractured his jaw when Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid / Eric Alonso/GettyImages

It is suggested that three weeks will be enough time for the Uruguayan to recover, meaning the mask will stay on against Royal Antwerp in the Champions League, as well as further La Liga encounters with Valencia and Almeria before Spanish football then pauses for the Christmas break.

By the time the season resumes for Barca on 4 January 2024, Araujo should be able to play without sporting any additional protection.

It is vital for Barca that they beat regional neighbours Girona, who sit level on points with Real Madrid vying for top spot in La Liga – four ahead of Xavi's side. But one player not seen at training on Thursday was centre-back Andreas Christensen.

A separate Mundo Deportivo report explains that the Danish defender has been granted personal leave as he waits for the birth of his second child. But with enough time until the Girona game, Christensen is still expected to be available unless there are any unexpected setbacks at the birth.