Riqui Puig puts Valverde under pressure to give him a chance

The Masia starlet's performance against Cartagena has reopened the debate about his position with the senior side

 El joven crack del FC Barcelona dejó destellos de su calidad como esta asistencia a Aleñá que no acabó en gol por poco | FCB

Riqui Puig has the required self-belief to succeed at FC Barcelona. Perhaps it's the one characteristic which brings him closer to the first team, above his footballing talent.

Dídac Peyret

@didacpeyret

Speaking of his talent, Riqui has shown that since making the step up to play alongside the older players. He takes risks and doesn't try to play it safe.

"He's stubborn in the sense that he isn't afraid of anything. Even if he comes up against someone who is 1.95m tall, he believes in himself and that Barça DNA," Barça B coach Garcia Pimienta admitted.

You only had to see his performance against Cartagena. It was only a friendly but Riqui took it very seriously. He knew this was a chance to prove himself in front of a larger audience again. He wants to have a place in Ernesto Valverde's plans.

Riqui once again demonstrated the talent he has, as he did throughout the preseason, and is able to offer qualities very few others possess.

Everyone knows about his ability on the ball but despite his slight frame, he's not afraid of throwing his weight around either. No one can doubt his fight.

Riqui isn't Xavi or Iniesta. Although, like both of them, he's got incredible vision and knows how to find space in order to offer an outlet for his teammates. "It's good that the academy brings through these types of players, as they have perhaps been missing over the last few years," Messi told 'Catalunya Radio' last year.

Riqui Puig brilló ante el Cartagena | JAVI FERRÁNDIZ

Young Riqui possesses that dynamism which has often been missing from the mdifield this season. Busquets and Arthur's positional play has meant that Valverde turned to De Jong and Arturo Vidal to help link the midfield and attack. Riqui is one of those players who can do that.

Valverde asked him to take a step forward and get involved in the final third. He's done that but the opportunities still haven't appeared. Riqui has been on the receiving end of some strong tackles whilst playing for the B team and that's a concern for the club.

"If I don't get the minutes I'll have to make a decision," Riqui admitted a few weeks ago. He's frustrated at being less involved with the senior side this term. "It's hard, because I was more involved with the first team and this year it isn't the same."

Riqui Puig has scored two goals and two assists in 929 minutes for Barça B

Valverde has admitted this is because he's got far too many midfielders in his squad. So Riqui must be patient and continue to perform well for Barça B.  

"He's got great potential but we've got a lot of players in midfield. Having a place in the youth team is an advantage for him because he's picking up minutes for them and could also be used by the senior team."

Riqui Puig, con el filial | VALENTÍ ENRICH

The problem is this will be Riqui's third season with the youth team, he's 20 now, and his own ideas are much clearer. "The Segunda B is a category which goes through the motions because not every player in the academy wants to spend a lot of time here because they have ambitions to play at a higher level."

At the moment, it appears those opportunities will be restricted to the Copa del Rey. Although everything could change in January should Aleña leave on loan and Rakitic get the move away he desires. Then, the door to the first team could open up for Riqui.

The youngster has rejected all loan proposals from Real Betis, Eibar, Zaragoza, Ajax and even Al-Sadd. Although Riqui appears more receptive to the idea of a temporary move in January should his options be to remain with Barça B or get more regular minutes at a higher level.

Riqui believes he is ready for a shot with the first team.

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