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Barca starlet Puig to be loaned out, says coach Koeman

Madrid, Sep 20 (IANS) FC Barcelona’s talented young midfielder Riqui Puig looks as if he is going to be spending the season on loan elsewhere, local media reported on Sunday.

Puig, whose performances were one of the few positives in Barca’s disappointing end to last season and who looked as if he was going to play a major role in the new season, was left in the stands for the club’s traditional pre-season Joan Gamper friendly against Elche on Saturday night.

Coach Ronald Koeman had told the player, who turned 21 a month ago, that he didn’t want him this season, Xinhua news agency reported.

Speaking after the game, which Barca won thanks to a solitary Antoine Griezmann goal, Koeman implied that the youngster would indeed be on his way out for the time being.

“I spoke to him yesterday (Friday) before training; I think that the young players have to play regularly and that is what I told him,” Koeman commented, adding that the same went for Carles Alena and new signing Pedri.

“Players like Riqui have something special, but it is going to be very complicated for him here as there is a lot of competition. I have told him that he has a future here, and we will think about what is the best way to succeed at Barca,” he added.

“It’s not true that I’m not counting on him,” insisted Koeman, who believes a loan move is likely. “It is a possibility and it could be for other players as well. 20-year-old’s like him have to play, and they can’t be stopped. We have reached some conclusions in the past three weeks and Riqui has too much competition,” he explained.

–IANS

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