Riqui Puig joined Barcelona’s La Masia in 2013, from UFB Jabac Terrassa.
After progressing through the youth setup, he made his senior debut with the reserves in 2018, coming on as a second-half substitute for Marcus McGuane in a 1–1 home draw against Gimnastic Tarragona for the Segunda Division championship.
A few months later, Puig renewed his contract with Barca until 2021 and was promoted to the B-team in Segunda Division B.
He made his first-team debut on 5 December, replacing fellow youth graduate Oriol Busquets in the 55th minute of a 4–1 home routing of Cultural Leonesa, for the season’s Copa del Rey; he also assisted Denis Suárez, who scored Barcelona’s fourth goal.
Puig made his La Liga debut in 2019, starting and playing 67 minutes in a 0–0 draw against Huesca.
He scored his first goal for Barça B on 14 September, the second in a 2–2 home draw against AE Prat.
In 2020, Puig was promoted to the first team, being handed the number 12 jersey that was previously worn by Rafinha.
In 2021, Puig scored the winning penalty in the penalty shootout (Barcelona won 3–2) after being held at 1–1 at the end of extra time by Real Sociedad in the Supercopa de Espana semi-final.
A few days later, Puig scored his first goal for the first team in a 2–0 away win in La Liga against Elche, when he headed in Barcelona’s second goal from a Frenkie de Jong assist.
Puig earned a lot of praises from the experts and ex-footballers in a very short time.
“I loved Riqui. He plays with so much personality, always with his head up. We could be looking at the new [Andrés] Iniesta!” said Daniel Massaro.
“I liked Riqui Puig’s decision [to take the fifth penalty vs Real Sociedad]. Plus, he has charm. He plays with a smile. It’s nice to see him play, he fits Barcelona’s style and when he comes in, the dynamics of the game change,” Joan Laporta has said after the nail-biting Spanish Super Cup final against Sociedad.
“Riqui Puig is a spectacle, to see boys who still have a child’s face and how they treat the ball is something that amazes me, they feel football inside and it’s something like poetry. I’ve heard them talking about him for some time, it’s something you can’t cut and paste into another club,” said Cesc Fabregas.
“I have seen him very good, he has come out with a lot of energy and he has done an extraordinary job. It is not easy to join the team, but this is what he should do. Take advantage of the minutes like today.
“It is a pity that he did not score because He has been close to doing it. I greatly appreciate what he has done and the presence he has had,” said the former manager of Barcelona, Quique Setien.
Even Ronald Koeman showered praises on Puig, but the scenario is different now.
According to MARCA, “Of all the players that Ronald Koeman wants to sell this summer, the name at the top of his list is Riqui Puig. The Academy graduate has not played a single minute of Barcelona’s opening three matches in LaLiga Santander, as his coach has made it clear that he is not in his plans.”
Koeman has made it very clear what his preferred starting central midfield is. It’s Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong and Pedri.
However, Puig is not even being considered as a backup option. Sergi Roberto deputised for Pedri in the victory over Getafe and then when he came off injured, he was replaced by Gavi.
The Dutch coach made his feelings clear about just how far down the pecking order Riqui Puig is.
“We have four or five players injured and when they’re back, others are going to be in a very difficult situation,” Koeman said.
Puig is still determined to triumph at his boyhood club in spite of his difficult situation with Koeman.
If he does decide to move on in search of more minutes, a decision will have to be made quickly.