Riqui Puig making a mistake by staying at Barcelona
The midfielder cannot make the same mistakes as previous Barcelona starlets
Riqui Puig has decided to stay at Barcelona and do whatever he can to convince manager Ronald Koeman to give him more playing time.
According to Mundo Deportivo, in the recent weeks, a number of teams have contacted Barcelona to ask about the midfielder’s situation. Puig has made it clear, however, he has no intention of leaving.
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While his desire to stay and succeed is commendable, he is making the wrong decision.
Koeman has made it quite clear during his time in charge that he does not count on the 21-year-old. For one reason or another, he’s developed this vendetta against Puig and it all started last season before the Joan Gamper match where he was left out of the squad.
Information leaked to the media and Koeman reportedly believed Puig was behind the leak. Since then, he’s rarely played and only been given cameos towards the end of the game.
Puig needs to look at past Barça midfielders and realize staying and trying to change the mind of the manager rarely works. He doesn’t need to look too far back either as he has the example of Carles Aleñá.
He had a similar mindset and wanted to prove he was good enough but it did not work. All he accomplished was to ride the bench season after season and stunting his development in the process. It wasn’t until this year where he finally saw the writing on the wall and made the move to Getafe.
A loan move would be the best option for Puig. He’d still be tied to the Catalan side but would get an opportunity to showcase his skills. He’s long been seen as a talented prospect but with little to no playing time under Koeman, that’s what he still is — a prospect.
The best thing for his career at the moment is to continue growing and developing. That is something he can only get if he plays. Puig played in only 14 matches last season, two as a starter, and accumulated only 292 minutes in the league. That’s nowhere near enough and things are unlikely to change.
The match against Real Sociedad did away with any hope this season would be different than the last one for Puig. Not only were Barça B midfielders Nico Gonzalez and Gavi preferred over him, Puig wasn’t even asked to warm up to possibly enter the game.
His performances in the preseason did little to help his situation either. Once Koeman has made up his mind, it’s very hard to convince him otherwise. Just look at what happened to Miralem Pjanić and Samuel Umtiti.
The hope for Puig, if he were to leave on loan, is he manages to impress at his new club and president Joan Laporta decides to not offer Koeman a contract extension. The Dutchman only has this season left on his deal and his future was already uncertain heading into the new campaign.
Puig could return a better player and with a new manager — maybe someone like Xavi or Garcia Pimienta — who will actually give him an opportunity.
We’ve seen too many promising academy players fizzle out due to lack of confidence from the manager. Puig has many qualities and a player everyone wants to see succeed. But for his sake, it is time he goes out and proves it. As many before him have found out, there is life outside of Barcelona.