Reports on Saturday morning suggested that Barcelona coach, Ronald Koeman, had told Riqui Puig that he didn’t count on him for the 2020/21 La Liga campaign.
Puig is one of the Catalan club’s most naturally gifted players and has spent the entirety of his career at the Camp Nou, working consistently hard to force his way into the first team conversation.
There was every reason to expect that he would play a big part this season, so Koeman’s apparent suggestion had come as a bit of a shock.
However, the Dutch coach has attempted to explain his decision in more detail and has clearly taken umbrage at the way in which his words were initially reported.
“It’s not true that I don’t count on him,” he told Catalan television channel TV3, cited by Sport.
“I was speaking with Riqui Puig yesterday. For me, the young players have to play. They can’t not play.
“That’s for Riqui, for Aleña, for Pedri… they have to play. I told Riqui that he has a future here but it’s going to be tough at the moment because of competition in his position.
“I recommended that he goes on loan. At 20, the young players need to play.”
The conundrum for Puig is whether he toughs it out again and hopes that he gets some minutes across the season, or decides, for a season at least, that a career away from the Camp Nou may be more beneficial for his career.
With Josep Maria Bartomeu and his board the subject of a vote of no confidence, there’s even the possibility of a new president being installed as early as next month.
If Victor Font were to be successful, it’s believed he would sack Koeman immediately, but can Puig take that chance?