LaLiga

Barcelona coach Koeman paints bleak future for Riqui Puig

The prodigious midfielder has not even played 90 minutes under the Dutchman this season - and that situation looks unlikely to change any time soon.

 
4:37pm on Friday 18th December 2020
By
Robin Bairner

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has had a dig at promising midfielder Riqui Puig, indicating his belief that the 21-year-old threatens to squander his talent.

Puig was the shining hope of La Masia when Koeman took the reins of the club in the summer. Since then, the promising youngster has fallen completely out of favour.

Though often found on the bench, Puig, who had three assists in 16 outings for Barca last season, has mustered only 77 minutes of football this season.

Koeman, however, has shown a willingness to give certain young players the opportunity to shine. Ronald Araujo, for example, has come into the team and has featured prominently on seven occasions, despite missing seven games because of injury.

The coach says there is a simple explanation why Puig is not getting the same exposure.

“Araujo and Riqui Puig are totally different,” he told the media on Friday. “I like people who work hard every day to improve and take the opportunity with both hands to get better.

“There are other things beside individual quality that are important. There are players who don’t do enough to make the coach think about changing the situation.”

If the prospects of Puig, who has been linked with a January loan move, look bleak under the current management, Araujo’s future looks rosier.

“He is strong and quite fast,” the coach said. “He has a strong character, he shows leadership qualities and trains hard every day.

“In some aspects of his game, such as his first touch or his circulation of the ball, including his forward passes, he has to improve, but he’s a young player who plays in an important position.

“He has told me that he wants to improve and this is very important.”

Barcelona, who are fifth in La Liga, five points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, host Valencia on Saturday.

Latest news

Player Ratings

Hungary 2-2 Germany Player Ratings: Hummels the standout as the Germans progress

In a topsy-turvy night of football in the European Championship, Germany overcame a scare against Hungary to make the knockout stage

  • 18 hours
Player Ratings

Portugal 2-2 France Player Ratings: Ronaldo makes history with penalty double

A pulsating encounter between the finalists of 2016 ended in a 2-2 draw, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema both netting doubles.

  • 19 hours
Player Ratings

Slovakia 0-5 Spain Player Ratings: La Roja finally click into gear with Laporte the star

Spain enjoyed their first win of Euro 2020 in their final group game, and in comprehensive fashion too

  • 22 hours
Player Ratings

Czech Republic 0-1 England: Sterling sets up possible France or Germany meeting

Gareth Southgate's team finish Group D in first place as Raheem Sterling's goal defeated the Czech Republic at Wembley.

  • 1 day
Euro 2020

Modric inflicts more heartbreak on Scotland as Croatia qualify

Scotland's miserable record in major international tournaments continued as they were eliminated from Euro 2020 by Croatia.

  • 1 day
Predicted XI

Muller missing - How Germany could line up against Hungary

Legendary Bayern Munich attacker Thomas Muller is set to sit out the final group game of the Euros due to a knee injury

  • 2 days

Most read