Widely loved by the fans and touted as one of Barcelona’s next midfield stars, Riqui Puig soon went from exceptional talent to outcast. Having been completely frozen out, first by Ronald Koeman and then by Xavi, he made his way to the MLS.
Speaking to SPORT, the 23-year-old recounts how his experiences swiftly turned sour in his final stretch at Barcelona and talks about how his life and career have been since then.
On what went wrong: “I was unlucky with some things, we changed coaches a lot, there were a lot of departures, Barça wasn’t doing well. Now I see Barça back to the way it was before. But I was in a situation where I wasn’t very comfortable.”
On his dynamic with Xavi: “Before the end of the season we sat down and Xavi told me that he didn’t count on me for the next season. When I went to train, he didn’t let me train the first few weeks. That’s what bothered me the most.”
“There was a good relationship between my family and Xavi’s family. The truth is that this is what hurts me the most as a player and even more as a friend who thought that my family was close to Xavi’s family.”
On his love for the club: “I’m a lifelong Barça fan. I have a lot of shirts. That will never change.”
On moving to the MLS: “I came here to MLS looking for minutes. I’m very happy. It was tough, considering that I had always been in Barcelona.”
Here, in the USA, football is the 4th most important sport. People let me live in peace, not like in Barcelona. At Barça, when I didn’t play, people were looking for stuff from you. Like with Pablo Torre, it’s unfair.”
On his future: “I am very competitive and I also want to play in a very competitive league. Now, with Messi, Busquets, and Jordi Alba this league is going well. But I have to look to my future and we will sit down with LA Galaxy and see what their idea is.”