Riqui Puig has long been considered one of the brightest jewels to emerge from Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy and showed his quality again on Tuesday.
The midfielder has struggled for first-team minutes in 2019-20 but replaced Arthur on 73 minutes at the Camp Nou and enjoyed a bright cameo in Barcelona’s 2-0 La Liga win.
His performance was enough to get Barcelona fans excited about the 20-year-old starlet once again:
Puig’s outing was just his third in La Liga this season. All three of his appearances in Spain’s top flight have come off the bench under new coach Quique Setien.
Puig Pushing For a Place Against Sevilla
The youngster’s performance may have done enough to force his way into Setien’s thinking for Friday’s game against Sevilla. The Barcelona boss switched his midfield around against Leganes but without great success.
Arthur and Ivan Rakitic came in for Frenkie de Jong and Arturo Vidal but did little to suggest they would be keeping their places in the starting XI at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.
Setien spoke about Puig’s performance after the game and did have praise for the youngster:
Puig may have to settle for a place on the bench again on Friday but with five substitutes now allowed in La Liga for the rest of the season there’s a real chance he can come on and make an impact.
What Next for Riqui Puig?
Just how much Puig is involved for Barcelona between now and the end of the campaign is likely to play a big part in deciding what happens to the youngster next season.
There has been speculation he could go out on loan in an effort to secure more game time and ensure his development does not stall. Real Betis are said to be keen on taking the midfielder, according to Sport.
Netherlands manager and former Barcelona star Ronald Koeman has suggested a move to Ajax could benefit Puig in an interview with Catalunya Ràdio’s ‘Tot Gira’.
“It is important that at that age the players play a lot. In Holland the league is not as strong as in Spain, but it is a perfect school to learn and have minutes, especially in teams like Ajax, which give you an extraordinary opportunity.”
Yet Puig and Barcelona fans would love nothing more than to see the midfielder playing regularly next season in the Blaugrana at the Camp Nou.