Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman made it clear that he wanted Riqui Puig to head out on loan this season. However, the young midfielder did not accept a loan move away from the club despite interest from several sides.
The Barcelona starlet now wants to fight for his place in the starting XI and is confident of proving to the manager he has what it takes to be playing this season. Riqui Puig explained to Marca that Koeman did not tell him that he will be isolated from the first team.
Talking to the Spanish publication, Riqui Puig said:
"It is true that if I do not have minutes with the club, it will be very difficult to go to the Euros (with Spain). I think that at Barça, I will end up having minutes and some opportunities and will be able to go to the Euros. Yes, I am optimistic (of minutes), otherwise, I would not have stayed at Barça."
"At Barça, I want to succeed, claim a position and I don't see any other way. I'm very happy at Barcelona, and I think I'll end up playing. Was it a tough conversation? No, it wasn't tough. At no point has Koeman told me that I will not have playing time. He trusts me and I think he will give me opportunities to show my potential and show that I can play for this great club," added Riqui Puig.
Ronald Koeman has a few midfield options at his disposal despite the departures of Arthur Melo, Ivan Rakitic, and Arturo Vidal this summer. The manager wanted Riqui Puig to play regularly this season, and that was the main reason why he asked the player to go out on loan. Miralem Pjanic was the only midfielder signed by the club this summer.
Riqui Puig is widely regarded as one of the best talents to come through the La Masia academy in years. Barcelona fans have high expectations of their starlet and were keen on seeing him play more games this season.
Puig made just 12 appearances last season, and that was only after Ernesto Valverde was sacked with Quique Setien replacing him.Published 09 Oct 2020, 19:13 IST