Riqui Puig deserves the same treatment as Ansu Fati


J.Mª Casanovas

The best Barça in history was that Guardiola team in which the youth team players were in the majority. It was a tribute to La Masía and the demonstration that if you work well with homegrown footballers, they can give great performances. The obligation of the club is to enhance that, promoting youngsters with potential and making fewer signings abroad of second-tier players who then do not perform according to their cost. This should be the philosophy of the future, to reduce the excessive cost of the current wage bill.

Barça now has a jewel in the academy and are not treating him as he deserves. He is a diamond to be polished, but has a natural talent and his vision of the game makes him a great promise in line with the pined-for Xavi and Iniesta. Riqui Puig is a player with 100 percent Barca DNA, a midfielder of touch and class that can not remain stuck at Barça B any longer. He has been performing in the summer preseason games well for two years, shines brightly in friendlies and has won the hearts of Culés for his way of understanding football. Many think that with Cruyff or Guardiola he would already be in the first team.

At twenty years old, he needs to jump up quickly. For his training and progression, working with the elite, playing minutes at the Camp Nou and continuing his learning in the Segunda would seem the ideal formula. Sharing training with Messi and company would be a source of encouragement and improvement for him. He is a player who has to develop physically but also needs to be able to play at the Camp Nou where his class will shine more than at Orihuela or Cornellá.

We are convinced that the day that Riqui Puig has the opportunities he needs, he will be a sensation just as Ansu Fati has been. Meanwhile, it is a comparative offense that Ansu and Carlos Perez train with the first team and Riqui has to wait his turn at Barca B. To date, he has played twelve starting games with the first team, nine friendlies, two La Liga matches and one Copa clash. Curiously he has never coincided so far on the pitch with Messi, his idol.

Barca has experience in promiting youth players. They just have to look at how Xavi and Iniesta jumped up and repeat it. Xavi made his debut in La Liga with Van Gaal as coach when he was 18 years old. Iniesta did under Rijkaard, starting playing at Camp Nou in 2002 when he was 18 years old. According to the opinion of several coaches consulted, Riqui's evolution would be faster and more positive if he moves to the first team than if he has to continue playing in Segunda B fields that are third-rate. The positive experience of Ansu Fati must have continuity with Riqui Puig.



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