Riqui Puig’s pre-season form has led to many dubbing him Barcelona’s next big midfield talent – but Ernesto Valverde has attempted to put a lid on the hype.
Though Barca lost 1-0 in their International Champions Cup clash with AC Milan on Saturday, Puig’s introduction as a substitute left tongues wagging.
The 18-year-old did not once concede possession of the ball in a second-half performance that brought to mind the likes of other La Masia products such as Xavi and Sergio Busquets.
But fans hoping to catch a glimpse of him in the Supercopa de Espana against Sevilla next Sunday night may be disappointed, according to Valverde.
“Of course, we are happy with the response of all the ‘B’ players who have come in,” he said.
“Riqui [Puig] has played a great second half, [but] we must be calm with the players. We get very excited, it’s about winning the Super Cup, not seeing if Riqui comes or not.”
Rossoneri boss Gennaro Gattuso however did not hold back in his praise of Puig, calling the teenager a ‘spectacle’.
Gattuso was more steel than silk during his own playing career – but admits to feeling envious of the technique-oriented Blaugrana model.
“Riqui 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,” he said.
“I’ve heard them talking about him for some time, it’s something you can’t cut and paste into another club.
“They don’t base themselves on a tactical model, but a common idea, I am a bit jealous of their school.”
Barcelona have announced they have reached an agreement with Sevilla for the transfer of Aleix Vidal.
Sevilla will pay Barca €8.5 million, plus €2m in variables.
The 28-year-old right-back returns to the club where he made his name before joining the Blaugrana in 2015.
The club said in a statement: “FC Barcelona expresses its gratitude to Aleix Vidal for his commitment and dedication and wishes him every success in the future.”
Vidal played a total of 49 games and scored four goals in the three seasons at the Camp Nou.
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12:48am – Club confirm Arturo Vidal signing
Arturo Vidal has joined from Barcelona on a three-year deal pending a medical, the club confirmed late Friday night. The transfer fee is being reported at roughly €30million.
9:18pm – Andre Gomes offered rescue from Barca nightmare
It’s safe to say Andre Gomes hasn’t had an enjoyable spell at the Nou Camp, and he’s been constantly linked with a move away this summer. The latest rumour is one linking him to Premier League side West Ham.
Read more here.
1.15pm: One year on from the transfer that changed football forever
It’s one year on but still hardly anyone can believe it – especially Barcelona fans.
The transfer changed world football overnight.
Sums that previously seemed absurd were no longer ridiculous – and vast amounts were suddenly common place.
From that day transfer records have been broken on almost a daily basis.
To read the full story click HERE.
11.02am: Barcelona nearing Arturo Vidal capture as fee reportedly agreed with Bayern Munich
According to Spanish publication Sport, a fee of around €30m (£26.7m) has been agreed between the German and Spanish giants and the Chilean has also reached a verbal agreement with Barca.
To read the full story click HERE.