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The La Masia Talent Who 'Astonished' Lionel Messi Is Leaving For MLS, Aged 22

Daniel Marland

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The La Masia Talent Who 'Astonished' Lionel Messi Is Leaving For MLS, Aged 22

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Barcelona midfielder Riqui Puig is set to join MLS side LA Galaxy, despite being a favourite of club legend Lionel Messi.

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The 22-year-old was expected to be a major star at the Camp Nou and he made his debut back in 2018 as a teenager.

Despite that, Puig never kicked on and he made just 14 appearances for the Blaugrana last season despite behind handed the number six shirt.

Manager Xavi has made it clear he does not feature in his plans and according to AS, terms with LA Galaxy over a loan deal have been agreed.

Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy

Puig's contract is set to expire in 2023 but Barcelona are considering extending it so they can eventually sell him on.

A number of Serie A sides were said to be interested but never made a move.

It's a sad decline for a player who was tipped to achieve big things for one of the biggest teams in world football.

Management and players were said to be 'left in awe' after seeing Puig train with the first-team for the first time.

That includes seven-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi who was personally 'astonished' after one session.

A report from Spanish publication SPORT claimed back in 2018: "All these situations are shaping the personality of a footballer who brings top quality and has a privileged vision of the game.

Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy

"Messi quickly realised that after Riqui started going to some training sessions with the first team last season.

"He wanted him at his side and, of course, the kid was happy to have his idol in front of him and on top of that, that he gave him the ball. He was not the only one who was astonished.

"Luis Suarez, [Andres] Iniesta - a player whom he has many resemblances towards - were also captivated by his football."

Barcelona are relatively stacked in midfield after the signing of Franck Kessie.

He is expected to be a regular for the Catalan giants while teenage duo Gavi and Pedri continue to impress.

Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy

Nico Gonzalez will play a more prominent role in the next campaign and Sergio Busquets has one more year remaining on his contract.

Frenkie de Jong also remains a Barcelona player for now and they're keen on making a move for Manchester City's Bernardo Silva too.

It means a move Stateside will be best for Puig's development after stagnating in recent years.

Barcelona and LA Galaxy developed a relationship back in March when Galaxy attempted to sign Sergi Roberto.

He opted to stay in La Liga but the two have stayed in contact since.

Topics: Riqui Puig, Barcelona, MLS, LA Galaxy

Daniel Marland
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