Barcelona Starlet Riqui Puig Hit By Fresh Snub

Riqui Puig


Barcelona midfielder Riqui Puig has suffered a fresh snub after being left out of the latest Spain Under-21 squad for forthcoming fixtures against the Faroe Islands and Israel.

The youngster will have been hoping for some game time over the international break after managing just three minutes for Barca this season but will not take part in the two Euro qualifiers after being surprisingly omitted.

Barcelona team-mate Carles Alena has also been left out, but new arrival Pedri has been included. The 17-year-old has made a stellar start to his Barcelona career, featuring nine times and scoring on his Champions League debut.

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Puig Told to Work Harder

Spain Under-21 boss Luis de la Fuente explained why Puig has not been called up at a news conference on Friday and said the 21-year-old needs to work harder, as reported by Sport.

Riqui continues to be a very important player for us, we count on him, but it is time to see other players. He is still a very important footballer. We also have others who have not yet been able to come due to circumstances.

I have not spoken with Riqui. I think he has to be calm. On other occasions I have spoken to him and he knows what I think of him. We have a high esteem and appreciation for him, now he has to work even harder. He is convinced that he wants to succeed at Barça.

It seems that Puig’s international hopes have been hit by his lack of playing time at Barcelona. Alena has also struggled for minutes in 2020-21 and only made his first appearance of the season for Barca as a late substitute in the Champions League win over Dynamo Kiev in midweek.

Koeman did advise his young players to go out on loan at the start of the season in order to play regularly as there was “too much competition” at the Camp Nou currently, as reported by the Evening Standard.

Both players opted to stay but maybe considering their futures ahead of the transfer window reopening in January. Alena spent the second half of last season on loan at Real Betis and could be tempted by another short-term deal.

Barcelona Trio in Senior Spain Squad

Meanwhile, Spain boss Luis Enrique has also called up three players to the senior squad ahead of three fixtures. Sergi Roberto, Ansu Fati, and Sergio Busquets are all on the 25-man list for games against the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Germany.

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Spain boss Luis Enrique praised teenager Fati after announcing his squad, as reported by Sport.

I have seen him very well, he never ceases to amaze me.  No one would think that he is an 18-year-old player. He interprets game situations very well, he knows how to play in relation to his teammates, play in one or two touches, he has goals, defensive work … . You have to take care of him and develop all his skills as a person and as a player. What I see on the field I like, I see many possibilities.

Barcelona resume La Liga action on November 21 against Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano. The game will see the Catalan giants come up against former striker Luis Suarez for the first time since his move to the Rojiblancos in the summer.

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