Barcelona may start Riqui Puig in Inter clash

Barcelona are set to hand midfielder Riqui Puig his Champions League debut for their trip to Inter, report Diario AS.

The central midfielder has not featured for the Blaugrana this season and Estadio Deportivo recently cited El Mundo Deportivo in claiming Real Betis, Ajax, Eibar and Real Zaragoza all unsuccessfully attempted to land him this summer.

The 20-year-old made three senior appearances for the Catalan giants last season and is widely regarded as one of the brightest talents to come through their La Masia academy in years.

A host of players are not travelling to Italy with Ernesto Valverde’s side for the midweek clash including Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and Arthur Melo.

“They (Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta) had the patience to wait for the opportunity; it is what I want to do,” Riqui is cited as saying by the report. 

Valverde told reporters ahead of the trip to Italy: “You have to keep in mind that Riqui played on Sunday (for the club’s B team against Valencia).”

Puig is cited as saying by Marca back in November: “I will not be leaving in January, well not in theory.

“It is true that I would like to have more minutes in the senior side but due to the number of players it is not easy, so I will have a decision to make.”

Puig made his La Liga debut on 13 April 2019, starting in a 0–0 draw against Huesca, and played 67 minutes, before starting in a 2-0 defeat to Celta Vigo in May.

The midfielder made his senior team debut with first team against Cultural Leonesa in a 4–1 home victory in the Copa Del Rey in December, as he came on in the 55th minute and assisted the fourth goal. He described his debut as 'a dream come true'.

Amid reports he could be loaned out this summer, Puig told reporters in April: “My only intention is to stay here, at my team and the team of my parents.

“My idea is to keep playing for Barca B and work for opportunities in the first-team and I am sure that they will arrive if I keep at my level.”

In May, he added: “I will not go on loan. As my father says, it is cold outside Barcelona and you cannot leave here unless you are kicked out.”


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