Barcelona midfielder Riqui Puig had a message for supporters after making a rare appearance for the first team in Sunday’s disappointing 2-1 defeat to Celta Vigo at the Camp Nou.
The 21-year-old come on at half-time to replace Pedri but could not help his team conjure a victory in their final home game of 2020-21. Lionel Messi headed Barca into the lead but two goals from Santi Mina saw Celta take all three points.
The result ends Barca’s titles hopes for another season with the Catalan giants now seven points behind leaders Atletico Madrid ahead of their final game of the season on Sunday at Eibar.
Puig took to social media after the match to express his disappointment. He wrote on Instagram, “Tough year but I’m sure this will make us stronger for the future. We are Barca and we will always fight for everything. Now more than ever Long live Barça!”
It has been a difficult year for Puig who was advised by coach Ronald Koeman to go out on loan at the start of the campaign. The youngster opted to stay but has struggled for game time and has made only 13 appearances in La Liga in 2020-21.
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Laporta Unhappy With Puig’s Role Under Koeman
Puig’s lack of game time has baffled many supporters with the youngster possessing the energy and creativity that has often been lacking from the Barcelona midfield at times this season.
President Joan Laporta has reportedly been unimpressed to see Puig spending so much time on the sidelines. According to RAC1, Laporta does not understand why the midfielder has not had a more important role this season.
The Barcelona president also believes that Puig needs to be a key part of the first-team squad and is needed to keep the spirit of the club’s famed La Masia academy alive. Puig has been at Barcelona since the age of 14.
Koeman’s treatment of Puig has not gone down well with many Barca supporters, and the Dutchman’s future is also the subject of speculation after a poor end to the campaign.
Sunday’s defeat to Celta Vigo means Koeman’s men have won just one of their last five league games, a run that has left their hopes of winning La Liga in tatters.
Koeman Talks Barcelona’s Defeat
Koeman spoke about Barcelona’s defeat to Celta after the final whistle and admitted it was a familiar performance from his team. Once again Barca failed to take their chances and were sloppy defensively.
Barca also finished the game with 10 men after center-back Clement Lenglet was shown a red card late on, and Koeman admitted it had been a poor second half performance from his team, as reported by Marca.
“If we speak about the first half, it is a reflection of what has happened to us in more than one game. We played well and with opportunities and they have one attack and you head into the dressing room at 1-1 and this is very hard mentally,” he said. “The second half wasn’t so good. In the end, it was 2-1 to them and this always happens in moments when you don’t have that luck.”
Koeman’s future at Barca looks increasingly uncertain after another disappointing performance and result on Sunday. The coach still has a year left to run on his existing deal, but it would be no surprise if he was dismissed at the end of the season.