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‘Wackle MF-DF’ ruining everything? Club legend sighs

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has taken a jab at his hometown team. 

On Wednesday (Nov. 12), Ferdinand spoke out about Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo. 

Araujo is arguably the best center back in the game today. He joined FC Barcelona B, the club’s second team, from Uruguayan professional club CA Boston Liber in 2018. He quickly established himself as a regular defender for the B team and made his first-team debut as a substitute in a Primera Liga match against Sevilla FC in the 2019-2020 season. In his first game, Araújo was shown a red card after 14 minutes, making it a less than satisfying debut.

Since then, Araujo has developed into a key defender for Barcelona. In his first full season at the age of 22 in 2020-2021, Araujo scored two goals and provided one assist in 33 games. He was in the best form of any Barcelona defender, using his physicality to wipe out opposing strikers and his quick feet to cover space behind them. His only flaw was that he was plagued by nagging injuries.

In the 2021-2022 season, he was at his best, scoring four goals in 43 appearances. With his best La Liga performance, he proved that he is the present and future of Barcelona’s defense. Injuries, which have always been a weakness of his, have been greatly reduced and he has been touted as the future of Barcelona’s defense. 

Last season, he suffered a recurrence of the injury during the September A-match and underwent surgery, which resulted in him being named to the roster for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but he finished the tournament without playing a single match. Luckily for him, his club Barcelona won the La Liga title, giving him his first league title as a starter. 

Araujo has continued to excel this season. He has one goal in 10 games this season. He was sidelined early in the season with a left quadriceps injury, but returned to the squad and scored a late theater goal against Real Sociedad in Round 12 to give his team a valuable three points.

Ferdinand, a legendary defender himself, recommended Araujo to his hometown club, United, who are currently without first-choice center back Lisandro Martinez due to injury, while Varane suffered a nagging injury early in the season. United boss Eric ten Hagg is currently using Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Jonny Evans at center-back, with full-back Luke Shaw also playing in the middle. 

However, Ferdinand’s thoughts quickly changed. The reason: Varane and Casemiro. Varane has been relegated to the bench by Van Gaal for tactical reasons. The pair have also been the subject of a rumored feud. Casemiro struggled at the start of the season and eventually left the squad due to injury.

Ferdinand sighed heavily. ”I saw the transfer link between Araujo and Man Utd. “If I’m a top defender like Araujo, why would I want to go to United,” he said, “I think if I go to United, I’ll be even worse like Varane and Casemiro.” In other words, he didn’t think Araujo would ever go to United. 

The Red Devils currently sit in sixth place in the Premier League with a 9-7-1 record and 27 points. Last season, the club won the Carabao Cup, finished third in the league and runners-up in the FA Cup, the first in six years under Van Gaal, but this season’s results have been less than stellar. It’s understandable why Ferdinand was sighing.

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