Barcelona midfielder Riqui Puig has been offered some key advice on his situation at the club by former coach and current Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.
The 21-year-old has endured a frustrating 2020-21 campaign under Ronald Koeman and only made two La Liga starts. The Dutchman did tell Puig to go out on loan at the start of the season but the youngster opted to stay and fight for his place.
Guardiola and Puig both attended the Puma Legends Trophy golf tournament in Mallorca on Monday, and the Man City boss offered his thoughts on the youngster’s lack of game time, according to Roger Torello at Mundo Deportivo.
“The work of a coach and players is never easy, Iniesta did not start at Barça until he was 24 or 25 years old, I know that he is a strong boy and he is about persisting and moving forward,” he said. “If you are determined to do it and continue, football always ends up giving you back what you give it.”
Puig will turn 22 in August and there’s a feeling he can’t afford to spend another season on the fringes at Barcelona. Yet Guardiola also told the midfielder to keep on working hard. He added, “The Barça or City players have little to complain about because they are very lucky, they just have to keep working because surely the reward will come to them.”
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Laporta Offers Puig Support?
Puig may not have gained Koeman’s trust just yet but he does appears to have an ally in Joan Laporta. The Barcelona president also attended the golf tournament, and the two were photographed together.
The two men also enjoyed a warm embrace with the president, “aware that he has had a bad time throughout this season and that he wants to succeed at Barça,” according to Torello.
Laporta also reportedly sent a key message to Puig after being elected as Barcelona president for a second time, according to Mundo Deportivo. The president told the youngster, “You keep smiling, I will make you succeed at Barcelona.”
Koeman Staying Is Bad News For Puig?
Yet Laporta has also announced that Koeman will stay on for another season at Barcelona which may spell bad news for Puig. The Dutchman was willing to hand youngsters such as Ilaix Moriba, Sergino Dest, and Oscar Mingueza game time last season but apppeared unwilling to trust in Puig.
Yet the club have reportedly activated an option to extend Puig’s contract until 2023, according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano. The midfielder wants to stay but will talk to Laporta about his situation following news Koeman will continue.
There would surely be no shortage of takers if Puig were to decide to move on, and the midfielder may have a tough decision to make this summer. Puig has outlined his desire to succeed at Barcelona several times but still seems to be facing a real battle to convince Koeman of his qualities.