Former Barcelona midfielder Riqui Puig has hit out at the club’s treatment of him before his departure for LA Galaxy this summer.
23-year-old Puig initially joined Barcelona in 2014 and rose through the ranks in La Masia before breaking through into the first team, but he failed to hold down a permanent starting role under any of his managers before eventually being banished by current boss Xavi.
He was excluded from the club’s pre-season tour as a sign of Barcelona‘s desire to part ways with him – alongside Neto, Oscar Mingueza, Moussa Wague and Samuel Umtiti – and speaking to AS, Puig admitted he was stunned to see that sort of behaviour from his former employers.
“It was a tough month because I had never seen that before, leaving players behind in Barcelona and going on a tour without them,” he said. “Perhaps I understand the club’s position, they want to put pressure on players to leave, but there are other ways to do it. It was really difficult being in Barcelona, training alone, with four other teammates who were also there with me.
“After seven years at the club, being in Barcelona when all my team-mates are in Los Angeles playing matches, well, the truth is that it hurt me a lot. It’s a difficult situation and sometimes you have to make decisions and they have made this decision but I don’t agree with it.”
Puig’s criticism comes as Barcelona continue to try and part ways with a number of players in their squad.
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Midfielder Frenkie de Jong finds himself locked in a battle over unpaid salary, with Barcelona claiming he must lower his wage or be sold, while striker Martin Braithwaite has been berated by supporters for refusing to terminate his contract and right-back Sergino Dest has been frozen out by Xavi.
The Blaugrana need to shift salary off the books to register summer signing Jules Kounde, who is still not part of the club’s La Liga squad because of their inability to get under the salary cap.
Xavi has claimed he does not mind that some players are resisting departures but did confess that he is worried about not having Kounde in his squad yet.