Barcelona boss Koeman on Riqui Puig: “There is always interest from the press because he is homegrown”

Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has dismissed concerns on a lack of playing time for midfielder Riqui Puig: “I make the decision on the player’s training and his attitude.”

The central midfielder has spent a miserly three minutes on the pitch in La Liga for the club this season and has yet to make a start across any competition.

Last month, a poll in Marca showed 87 percent of 60,000 respondents believed the midfielder will leave the club on a loan deal in January, with just 13 percent voting that he would stay.

A report in El Pais in the past week then alleged that Koeman had identified the central midfielder as the player to be leaking information about the club to the press.

Koeman told reporters at his pre-match press conference ahead of facing Real Sociedad, as per Marca: “There is always interest from the press because he is homegrown from the club. There are more players who have not played lately and are trying to have the support of the coach and the press.

“We are not talking about a single player who does not have minutes. There are many players. We are a strong squad and we can only play with 11 at once.

“I make the decision on the player’s training and his attitude.”

Back in September, Barcelona boss Koeman opened the door for the central midfielder leaving on a temporary basis this season as he is not in his plans, despite the exits of Arthur Melo, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal, although Miralem Pjanic did arrive at the Camp Nou.

The 21-year-old made three senior appearances for the Catalan giants in 2018/19 and is widely regarded as one of the brightest talents to come through their La Masia academy in years.

However, it was not until Quique Setien’s appointment at the Camp Nou earlier this year that Puig enjoyed prolonged prominence in the club’s matchday squads as he made 12 appearances last season.

Tags Riqui Puig Ronald Koeman