Riqui Puig was once highly regarded and rated in Barcelona and was hailed by senior teammates as one for the future.
A La Masia product through and through, the Spanish starlet had faced incredible difficulty in recent times as he struggled to earn regular playing time.
He was so highly regarded just two years ago that he was given the #6 jersey worn by Barcelona’s current manager, Xavi Hernandez.
How Puig’s Barcelona career gradually came to an end
In 2020, former Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman revealed that the midfielder would struggle to break into the squad.
Koeman, however said at the time that the situation was the same for other youngsters including Aleña and Pedri.
Pedri has since gone on to become a mainstay of the Barcelona first team while Puig has been neglected by successive managers.
“I talked to him, in my opinion, young people have to play. This is the message for Riqui, Aleñá, and maybe Pedri later on. I told him that it will be very complicated because there is a lot of competition, but I think he has a future here,” Koeman had clarified at the time.
Under Xavi, same old story for Puig
Puig had high hopes when Xavi Hernandez was announced as Barcelona manager but he has hardly gotten minutes under the Spaniard.
With Pedri, Gavi, De Jong and Busquets all in the team, and Ivorian international Franck Kessie joining, Puig had no chance of playing for the team.
Four years ago, Xavi called on Ernesto Valverde to give Puig a chance and had stated in close discussions that the player would be a starter if he were to be in charge.
Now in charge at Barcelona, Puig is headed to the United States at 22 with transfer guru, Fabrizio Romano revealing that a 3-year deal has been agreed with LA Galaxy.
“I hope Ernesto can give him opportunities when he deserves them,” the Barcelona manager had told Mundo Deportivo two years ago per Footmob, when Puig was just 18.
“I’d say he’s very prepared to play in the first team of Barca.
“I am very happy because when I see him playing we can see the total Barca schooling that we like so much.
“[He has] that particular DNA of our game and that is so complex to find in specific players. He sees the play right away, he knows what he has to do at all times and he is intelligent.
“The truth is that he is a boy who breathes talent and who plays easy. He has self-confidence, personality, does not hide and asks for the ball.
“I’m very happy although, as Valverde says, it’s still very early.”
While Xavi still claims to see a Barcelona future for Puig, his words are a deviation from his actions as other young players have had more opportunities.
Once crowned as the biggest talent out of the La Masia, Puig is on his way out of the club as successive coaches fail to see what he offers, if any.