Barcelona midfielder Riqui Puig gives Ronald Koeman deathly stare while on the bench during stalemate at Cadiz in latest sign of rift between homegrown player and under-fire boss
- Riqui Puig did not hide his feeling towards Ronald Koeman in the game at Cadiz
- The midfielder gave the Dutch coach a deathly stare while sitting on the bench
- Puig has had hardly any game time since Koeman took over as Barcelona coach
- He got on the pitch against Cadiz in the end but almost gave away a late goal
Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman’s lack of appreciation for homegrown midfielder Riqui Puig is no secret and the frosty relationship between manager and player was laid bare for all to see during Thursday’s 0-0 draw at Cadiz.
Many fans hoped the diminutive Catalan would be the club’s next great midfielder after an outstanding pre-season campaign in 2019 and expected him to follow in the footsteps of other La Masia graduates Xavi and Iniesta.
But he has barely featured for Koeman in the last two seasons, getting only two LaLiga starts last campaign and none this term.
Barcelona’s Riqui Puig (right) gave Ronald Koeman a telling stare during the 0-0 draw at Cadiz
Puig was expected to become a key player for Barca but has barely featured under Koeman
The 22-year-old’s ill-feeling towards the coach was caught on camera as he could be seen giving the Dutchman a deathly stare while sitting on the substitutes bench during the game.
The stare was quickly spotted by Spanish television viewers and was highly commented on social media.
Koeman did end up giving Puig a chance to shine, however, throwing him on for Sergino Dest with 10 minutes remaining.
But Puig struggled to adapt to the whirlwind pace of the game and was almost responsible for Barca conceding a goal as he was dispossessed less than a minute after coming on by Alfonso Espino.
Koeman was sent off late in the game after protesting Frenkie de Jong’s earlier red card
Espino then fed Salvi but the forward was foiled by a fine stop by Barca keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who spared Puig’s blushes.
Koeman was highly animated during the game and was left fuming by the referee’s decision to send Frenkie de Jong off in the second half for two bookings, the second of which was harsh on the midfielder as he got the ball in a challenge with Espino.
The coach was then sent off himself in injury time for continuing to complain to the officials.