La Masia has always been considered as one of the prime talent-producing farms in the whole world. They have produced world-class talents like Xavi, Carles Puyol, Andres Iniesta and most remarkably Lionel Messi. They have served Barcelona time to time with sets of player who has the potential to rule the world. Their recent batch includes winger Ansu Fati, centre-back Ronald Araujo and attacking midfielder Ricard Puig. We’ll look at the career of the promising number 10 Riqui Puig at Barcelona.
Riqui Puig is one of the promising creative midfielders of La Masia. He is just 21, but already has around 32 appearances for the Catalonia side. He started playing in the first team squad from 2018 when he was just 19. He has put on some remarkable performances in La Liga under former manager Quique Setien and according to Barca fans, he resembles the signs of early Iniesta. But under their new manager Ronald Koeman, He has failed to get his name in the starting lineup and with the recent form of Pedri, It is not likely that he will get it soon. Speculations were there that he will leave the club in search of game time for at least a year in a loan deal. It was clear that he is not in the plans of new manager Ronald Koeman. But in recent times, events have taken a new turn as he has signed a new extension with Barcelona. Despite the option of loaning him out is still there, but he wants to stay and fight for his position. Now let’s see how Koeman can accommodate Puig in his side.
I would like to be in the first team but I don’t decide that, the club does. If I have to be in Barcelona B for another season, in the Segunda B, it wouldn’t matter. I’m not going to give in. As my father says, it’s cold outside of Barça and you cannot leave if they don’t kick you out.Riqui Puig at Barcelona talks about leaving the club
Puig is a perfect number 10 who likes to play behind the forward. He likes to play in the middle of the 3 men attacking midfield in a 4-2-3-1 system. Although he is not defensive in his approach, he can also play in a 3-man midfield of 4-3-3 where his role is attacking. He doesn’t provide much utility to the side, but he is one of the best in his position. He has excellent ball control and carries the ball from defence to attack. He is also very creative and can find players with his excellent passing range. His game style suits Barcelona extremely well as he can control the ball, whenever required.
When the ball is in Barca half, He likes to stay near the half-line to initiate counters. When the ball is played to him, he either takes a touch or dribbles his marker. This opens up space behind the defender where he can make a run to create an opportunity. He also can hold the ball which allows other attackers to reach in supporting positions. He, with his excellent passing, can play along with them to create a chance. Though, He is a central attacking midfielder he likes to play freely. He likes to move around in both the wings and even in the second-striker position which makes it hard to mark him. He is a proper example of ‘enganche‘ who likes to operate in the Zone 14 areas. He also has the quality to stretch out the opponent’s defence. With his ball control, He likes to attract opponent defenders and create space for his teammates. In a word, He is a creative package who can add a lot of attacking prowess to this Barca side.
Puig doesn’t drop very deep for defensive duties. He can be the first line of press for Barcelona. He has an excellent match reading capability and can help his team to win the ball by closing up space. He is also a clean tackler and can slide tackle whenever necessary. He tries to stop the opponent’s buildup play in their half and initiate counters. His tackles have helped Barcelona to create chances.
Loan deals available to Riqui Puig at Barcelona
Though he has signed a contract renewal with Barcelona till 2023, the option of loaning him out is still on. It will be healthy for both the player and the club to send him in a multi-year lowan deal if he is not in the plans of Koeman. He can be loaned out to a mediocre UCL or UEL side, where he could get regular match time. Clubs like Sevilla, Dortmund, Lyon and Leverkusen will be ideal for him as he will get both the taste of European competitions as well as the environment of a top-tier club which will make him prepared for Barcelona. Rumours are that clubs like Arsenal, AC Milan were interested in him before the renewal. Will they be interested in taking him in a loan deal?
After his renewal, Puig has said that he wants to stay in Barcelona and fight for his position. Though, He was fielded in the last match against Osasuna, it is unlikely that he will get regular game time, especially with the red-hot form Pedri is going through. Koeman could try rotating the squad and give them both equal game time, but this will hamper the stability of the squad. So, It will be better for him to go to another club on a loan deal and develop to his full potential. Otherwise, It will be a huge loss for Barcelona and Spain.
What is your opinion on Riqui Puig at Barcelona? Let us know in the comment section below.