The coach denied that he had told Riqui Puig that he would not take it into account, but clarified: “I told him that he is going to have it very complicated here”
September 19, 2020 Share on FacebookShare Share on TwitterTweet Share on WhatsAppShare
Riqui Puig, Luis Suárez and Marc-André ter Stegen (injured) watched the victory against Elche from the stands (Photo: Reuters)
Ronald Koeman's first weeks at the helm of Barcelona's substitute bench are convulsed. After the conflict between the leadership and Lionel Messi who had him in a secondary role, the Dutch coach was left in the center of the scene by discarding Luis Suárez . The fire was rekindled in the last hours: it will not have among its priorities Riqui Puig , one of the highest promises of the quarry.
The news had a full impact on the Barça world, especially because Suárez's departure had as one of its justifications the idea of filming a team of young people such as Pedri, Ansu Fati, Francisco Trincao, Carles Aleñá or Puig himself. After the victory against Elche for the Joan Gamper Trophy , Koeman had to go out and explain the issue: “Young people like Riqui have to participate and I told him that it will be very difficult here because it will have a lot of competition . “
“It is not true that I do not have him. I spoke with him yesterday before training and I am clear that young people have to play and I told him so. It can also be valid for Aleñá and Pedri later. I have told him that he has a future here and we are thinking about the best way to succeed at Barça ”, the Dutch coach warned about the young midfielder who has just turned 21 years old .
Koeman will not have Puig among his priorities (Photo: Reuters)
He clarified that they could send him on loan to another club, a move that “is also a possibility” that could “be valid for other young people . “ Along the same lines, he insisted: “20-year-old boys like him have to play and cannot stand still. We have drawn conclusions in these three weeks and Riqui has too much competition .”
Before the meeting, President Josep Bartomeu also referred to the issue and endorsed Koeman's determination: “First of all, let it be clear that our intention is for Koeman to be here for many years: I wish him success and success, it has been a long time since we expected him to come, he is a technician of recognized prestige. He will explain his conversations with the players at the end of the game. But here nobody talks about whether or not he is counted on, the news is exaggerated, it is not true that he does not have him , as he will explain. There is a very large and competitive squad, everyone wants to play and Koeman's job is to choose the most suitable . We have the utmost confidence in Koeman, Planes and all the technical staff ”.
During the first matches of the Koeman era, the coach chose other surnames such as Philippe Coutinho or Pedri before Puig. The detail that revolves around this decision is that phrase by Ramón Planes – the sports secretary who replaced the outgoing Éric Abidal – in which he warned that they would build a sports project around “young players”.