Riqui Puig has been captured savaging Barcelona teammate Ronald Araujo in training at the Ciutat Esportiva in a video that has emerged online of the two players.
The Barcelona midfielder spots Araujo taking part in a photoshoot, wearing the team’s new home kit for 2021-22, and wanders over to greet the defender. However, at the last minute Puig instead decides to nutmeg the center-back and runs off laughing.
Araujo responds with a gesture and, as shown by ESPN, warned the midfielder, “you know what will happen to you in the next training session.”
Barcelona & Puig Get Back To Work
Puig was back in pre-season training on Monday as Barca kicked off preparations for the new campaign, while Araujo was one of several absentees after being involved in the Copa America with Uruguay.
Koeman had seven first-team regulars to work with on Monday with Puig joining Sergino Dest, Gerard Pique, Miralem Pjanic, Neto, Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umtiti for the session.
The Dutchman was also able to call on a raft of Barca B youngsters. Inaki Pena, Arnau Tenas, Alex Collado, Gavi, Comas, Nico, and new signing Yusuf Demir were also put through their paces, as reported by the club’s official website.
Barca will play pre-season friendlies against Nastic on July 21 and Girona on July 24 before the start of the new campaign. The Catalan giants’ first game in charge is against Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou on August 15.
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Laporta Sends Message To Barcelona Squad
Barcelona president Joan Laporta also turned up to training and had a message for the players ahead of the new campaign. The 59-year-old offered the players some motivational words, as reported by the club’s official website.
“We would like you to be professionals, with a winning mentality and with team spirit,” he said. “Barça has to compete to win, but obviously always in a sporting way. I wish you all the best for the season.”
Laporta returned to the club for a second spell as president in March. The Catalan saw the team go on and win the Copa del Rey but finish a distant seven points behind champions Atletico Madrid in La Liga.
Time For Puig To Shine
Pre-season offers Puig the chance to try and convince Koeman he deserves regular game time next season. The Barca boss famously advised Puig to go out on loan at the start of 2020-21, but the midfielder chose to stay and spent most of the campaign on the bench.
The arrival of Laporta may help Puig’s first-team chances. The president appears to be a big fan of the youngster and has already made it clear he feels he can play a big role, as reported by Diario AS.
“For me, he is a player of extraordinary quality, strategic for the club because of his way of playing and his understanding of the game and the philosophy of the club (…) Let him be part of the group to earn his place.”
Barca’s transfer activity may also work in Puig’s favor and offer him more chances to impress. Matheus Fernandes has already departed, while Miralem Pjanic is expected to be offloaded in the summer transfer window too after struggling to make an impact at the Camp Nou.
Ilaix Moriba’s future at the club is also uncertain amid a contract standoff with the Catalan giants, and Pedri will miss pre-season as he will be part of the Spain squad at the Tokyo Olympics.