Barcelona midfielder Riqui Puig has opened up on his “difficult” situation at the club after coming on as a substitute and scoring in the team’s 4-0 La Liga win over Osasuna.
Puig came on with 17 minutes of the game remaining and promptly added Barcelona’s fourth goal of a comprehensive win that sends the Catalans back into third place in the table.
“My situation is one that is difficult and has been for a long time. But I’m very happy today that I’ve been given the chance to play for that little while,” he said. “I am not having the minutes that I would like to have but I need to continue to train and work hard. I want to thank all the staff for the chances I’ve had and I’m thankful to the fans as well.”
Puig has slipped down the pecking order at Barcelona following the arrival of Pedri from Las Palmas in summer 20202 and the emergence this season of youngsters Gavi and Nico Gonzalez.
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Xavi Feels Bad About Leaving Players Out
It had been widely expected that Puig may get more first-team opportunities under coach Xavi but that simply has not been the case. The youngster has only made three substitute appearances since the turn of the year.
The Barcelona coach has spoken about how hard he finds it leaving players out of his team due to the intense competition for places in the first-team squad currently.
“There are players that are training really well and so I feel really bad that players aren’t getting chances to play like Martin Braithwaite, like Riqui, like Oscar Mingueza,” he told a news conference, “That’s the competitivity, football’s that way. If they keep training well I’m sure an opportunity will arrive.”
Xavi was able to offer some of his fringe players game time against Osasuna after seeing his team take a commanding lead. Puig, Martin Braithwaite, Oscar Mingueza and Clement Lenglet all arrived in the second half.
Puig In Demand This Summer?
Puig’s lack of game time at Barcelona has fuelled speculation he could be forced to depart in the summer in order to find regular first-team football and get his career back on track.
Barcelona have already “received many offers to take him on loan” from clubs throughout La Liga, as reported by Diario Sport. The Catalans have also made it clear to Puig that his best option is to accept temporary move away if he continues to sit on the bench.
Puig has previously made it clear he is determined to succeed at Barcelona but will turn 23 in August and may feel the best option now is to look for a new challenge away from the Camp Nou.