One of Barcelona’s brightest young talents, Riqui Puig, may have to leave the club, either on loan or permanently, after his latest snub, this time from manager, Quique Setien.
The youngster might well have thought that his chances of regular first team action would improve once the Cantabrian had taken over from Ernesto Valverde, but apart from a quarter hour against Granada in Setien’s first match at the Camp Nou, and some cursory minutes elsewhere, Puig hasn’t featured.
“None (of the youth players) have convinced me to give them more minutes,” Setien is reported as saying in Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish).
“If someone had shown me they’re better than the ones who play, I would have put them in without any problem.”
A midfield of Puig, Frenkie de Jong and Arthur Melo would cover all bases in terms of a midfield dynamic, but to this point, any one of Sergio Busquets, Arturo Vidal and Ivan Rakitic have been preferred by Setien to Puig.
His is a natural talent, and one that hugely impressed Gennaro Gattuso when Barcelona played his AC Milan side back in a 2018 friendly.
“Riqui Puig is a spectacle,” Gattuso said after the game and reported by MARCA.
“I am amazed to see a lad with the face of a child treat the ball like that. I see that he feels football inside him and what he did was like poetry.”
Talent of that ilk surely can’t be allowed to rot in the Barca B reserve side, so it appears that if Setien doesn’t quickly change his tune, Puig has little option.