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Riqui Puig opens up on Barcelona exit: “Hurt me a lot”

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Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images

Once upon a time regarded as the crown jewel of Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, Riqui Puig finds himself in the MLS as he looks to rejuvenate his career following a tough stint with the Catalans’ first team.

The 23-year-old had a lot of expectations riding on him when he broke into the senior team at Camp Nou in 2018. But he never managed to translate the potential he had shown in the academy to first-team football.

Having failed to make an impact under multiple managers, Puig was told by Xavi Hernandez and Barça this summer that his time at the club was up. And, after much deliberation, the Spaniard decided to move to the USA, where he has signed for LA Galaxy.

Speaking in an interview with Fox Sports (h/t SPORT), Puig reflected on the circumstances leading to his exit, stating that he was left hurt by the club’s decision to drop him from the pre-season tour of the US earlier this summer.

“I was in Barcelona while all of my teammates were in Los Angeles playing matches… To be honest that hurt me a lot. Sometimes you have to take decisions, and they took that one, but I don’t agree with it,” he said.

The La Masia graduate admitted that the last phase of his Barcelona career did not go as per plans, but thanked the club for making him the footballer he is today.

“I have to thank Barcelona because I am who I am as a player thanks to them. The last part of my life at Barcelona was not how I wanted. I wasn’t treated how I would have liked. But that can be forgotten, and that’s that,” Puig said.

The midfielder had another interview with TUDN during which he expressed his dismay about his time with the Barcelona first-team setup, claiming that none of the managers he played under showed faith in him.

“I never had a coach who fully trusted me. As a player you can lose confidence but you can never lose continuity,” the 23-year-old said, as quoted by SPORT.

Having made the jump to LA Galaxy, Puig will likely make his debut for the MLS club this weekend against the Seattle Sounders.

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