BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona center back Ronald Araujo has defended his decision to undergo thigh surgery on Wednesday at the likely expense of missing the World Cup.
Araujo was injured on Uruguay duty against Iran last Friday. He returned to Barcelona and was diagnosed with a torn tendon in his right thigh.
"Surgery was the best option,” he wrote on Twitter on Monday.
The World Cup is in less than two months, and critics in Uruguay believe he is putting his club before his country. Araujo denied it.
"I love my country and I love my national team. It’s not about choosing one or the other, it’s about health and being 100% as soon as possible,” he wrote. "On a personal level, these are tough moments and I want to say thanks to everyone for all the support I’m receiving.”
Barcelona said it will give a timeframe of Araujo's recovery after the surgery, which will be carried out by Dr. Lasse Lempainen under the supervision of club medical staff in Turku, Finland.
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The Associated Press