Riqui Puig doesn't lose his smile. Especially after some time off when he's able to get back to what he loves doing the most: playing football. Rumours follow the Barcelona midfielder around but he backs himself to triumph at Camp Nou, even if it's not proving easy.
Puig is in the Barça squad for the first pre-season friendly on Wednesday against Nastic de Tarragona and he's enjoying being back.
"I am really happy," he told Barça TV. "I was desperate to get back on the grass. It's true we don't have long holidays as footballers, but this year I had over a month and I am really happy to be back at the training ground with my teammates and doing what I most like.
"We have a month to prepare for the start of the league and we're building a really competitive team. We've got young players, we all want to win a lot of trophies and we're excited for the season to begin."
Puig did not get many chances to play last season but hopes to convince coach Ronald Koeman he's deserving of more minutes this time round.
"We're all excited, especially me," he said of the first friendly. "After six weeks stopped, I think it will be good to get some rhythm. Above all, to see fans again as well, because I think it will be 50 per cent capacity. We're really happy."
Of Barça's new signings, only Memphis Depay has started training so far, although he won't be involved on Wednesday.
"People have told me good things about him and I think he will be good for us," Puig said.
"He's a goal scorer on a European level, one of the best around at the moment, and I think he will give us a lot. I'm excited to play with him and to win trophies alongside him."