Riqui Puig had a message for Barcelona supporters in the wake of Sunday’s disappointing Spanish Super Cup final defeat to Athletic Club in Seville.
The midfielder came on in extra-time of the 3-2 defeat and took to social media after the game to send a motivating message ahead of the second half of the 2020-21 season.
He wrote on Twitter, “Tough loss in the Super Cup Final when we had it close. It’s time to get up and keep fighting for everything that’s left this season, that’s why we are Barça!”
Dura derrota en la final de la Supercopa cuando la teníamos cerca. Toca levantarse y seguir luchando por todo lo que queda esta temporada que por eso somos el Barça!💪🔵🔴 pic.twitter.com/K37ksSrTH2
— Riqui Puig (@RiquiPuig) January 18, 2021
Barca looked on course to win the game after Antoine Griezmann scored his second of the night to make it 2-1 on 77 minutes. However, Oscar de Marcos leveled in the 90th minute for Athletic before Inaki Williams won it with a stunning goal in extra-time.
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Messi Facing Suspension
Barca also saw captain Lionel Messi sent off in the closing stages of the match after lashing out at Athletic’s Asier Villalibre. The Argentine apologized to his team-mates after the game for his red card and was despondent in the locker room, according to Deportes Cuatro.
Messi is set to be handed a suspension for his red card. According to Marca, the 33-year-old could be hit with a three-game ban, and Barca are preparing a battle in case a longer suspension is handed out.
Any ban handed out will be effective immediately, meaning Messi is likely to at least miss Thursday’s Copa del Rey trip to Cornella and the weekend’s trip to struggling Elche in La Liga.
More Game Time for Puig?
The upcoming games could present Puig with the chance for more minutes in the first-team. Puig has struggled for game time in 2020-21 but made an impact at the Super Cup, scoring the decisive penalty in the shootout win over Real Sociedad in the semi-finals.
Puig could now make his first start of the season against Cornella. Ronald Koeman is likely to rotate his team for the trip to the third-tier side, meaning the 21-year-old could get the nod.
The midfielder will be desperate to take his chance and stake a claim for more regular minutes at the Camp Nou. Puig reiterated his desire to succeed with the Catalan giants after scoring his penalty against Real Sociedad, as reported by ESPN’s Samuel Marsden.
I have never lost my smile. I am a happy kid. Even if I am not playing, I have my family, my health. If Ronald gives me minutes, I will try and take my chance; if not, keep working hard. I am never going to throw in the towel.
The Copa del Rey is not one of Barca’s highest priorities but does represent a realistic chance of silverware this season, particularly with La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid already out. Los Rojiblancos were eliminated in the second round by Cornella which should serve as a warning, if any were needed, for Barcelona ahead of Thursday’s encounter.