Riqui Puig had a message of thanks for Barcelona team-mate Frenkie de Jong after Sunday’s 2-0 win at Elche. De Jong scored the opener and then set up Puig for his first senior goal for the Catalan giants.
The youngster took to Instagram after the match with a message to thank the Netherlands international for the assist. He wrote, “Happy to keep helping the team, this time with a goal and a header! Thank you Frenkie de Jong I owe you one! Visca Barca!”
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Puig Makes Instant Impact
Puig once again started on the bench for Barcelona but did finally come on in the 87th minute as a replacement for Pedri. The youngster needed just two minutes to head home a cross from De Jong and open his account for the Catalan giants.
The diminutive midfielder admitted after the game that it’s been some time since he last scored a header.
Coach Ronald Koeman also praised Puig after the win, as reported by Sport. He explained, “he came on and did well, getting forward. He’s not very tall but he jumped really high to score the decisive goal.”
There’s no doubt it’s been a frustrating season for Puig but things have been looking up at the Camp Nou for the midfielder. He scored the decisive penalty in Barca’s shootout win against Real Sociedad in the Spanish Super Cup and has now opened his goalscoring account for the club.
De Jong Drives Barca
Puig is likely to steal plenty of headlines with his late goal but team-mate De Jong deserves plenty of plaudits for his display too. The Dutchman stepped up in the absence of suspended captain Lionel Messi and drove his team to victory with a goal and an assist.
De Jong’s fourth goal of the season came when he just managed to get a touch on the ball as it crossed the line after Elche defender Diego Gonzalez had inadvertently directed Martin Braithwaite’s cross goalwards.
The Dutchman’s strike also means that he now already has more goals for Barcelona than he managed with previous club Ajax.
Koeman also took time out to praise De Jong for his performance after the final whistle, as reported by Marca.
The three forwards aren’t enough; we need the midfielders to score too. It’s good that he’s scoring and assisting. He’s improving. We want the midfielders to get into the box and get up there.
De Jong is becoming a growing influence at Barcelona this season and appears to be enjoying life under Koeman. The two men know each other well having previously worked together with the Netherlands national team.
Koeman has tweaked De Jong’s position since the start of the season which allows the midfielder to play in a more advanced role. The change had certainly paid off with De Jong having scored three goals and picked up two assists in six games so far in 2021.