Barcelona boss Quique Setien is set to hand a first La Liga start of the season to talented young midfielder Riqui Puig against Celta de Vigo on Saturday.
As highlighted by the front page of Saturday’s edition of El Mundo Deportivo, the youth graduate of the club is set to start with Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong both unavailable for the clash, while Arthur Melo – whilst included in the squad – is set to join Juventus and may not be selected.
Puig, 20, has only featured in 75 minutes in La Liga spread across five substitute appearances, but three of them have now come in successive games – against Leganes, Sevilla and, on Tuesday evening, against Athletic Club Bilbao.
Puig, 20. 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.
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 2018, as he came on in the 55th minute and assisted the fourth goal. He described his debut as ‘a dream come true’.
A report in Diario Sport earlier this season claimed Ajax, Celta de Vigo and Granada were all interested in securing him on loan, but he now appears to be staying at the Camp Nou and establishing his place.
“Bruno Fernandes told me that, as a kid, he had a poster of me. He said that when he played Football Manager he always signed me. I was like, ‘You had me on a poster? And, seriously, you sign me for FM?’ I mean, how weird is that?” – Find out who said this right here.