From the shadow of Riqui Puig, to the light of Aubameyang

Riqui Puigconsidered in his day as the greatest diamond in the rough of the Barcelona youth academy, the midfielder who best represented the footballing DNA of the club and called, without dissimulation, to inherit the command of the first team that Xavi Hernández once had, received this Saturday an unequivocal signal from Xavi himself, little less than showing him the exit door.

The night that Barça could not count on Busquets, pedri and even Nico, understanding Riqui’s presence in the starting eleven as indisputable, the coach preferred to tweak the system and play with only two pure midfielders (Frankie de Jong Y Gavi), before giving the chance to the youth squad, who has only started two games this season.

Xavi preferred to unbalance his team, with the presence of four forwards and converting Jordi Alba in a usual third half, rather than maintaining the essence that he always personalized, commanding, or pretending to, through the ball, the combination and the play of the midfielders, who this Tuesday almost seemed to have tiptoed through the game.

The Barça coach did not change his idea until the break, perhaps realizing that the 2-0 scoreline in the first half was the product of the successful finisher but, not at all, because of the game and it could be said that he challenged Riqui to show him his ability to take possession of the game in the second half… Something that the small midfielder did not do, who went almost unnoticed, regardless of the goal that was disallowed.




Riqui Puig tried a through ball, but Eric García was in an advanced position.

pug, like Braithwaite, who didn’t play a single minute, seems doomed by Xavi when the season is over. The coach admitted the day before that he was “pretty clear” about the changes to be made in the squad and both are on the exit ramp, which also includes Umtiti, Mingueza, Adama (also zero minutes) and who knows Net and Lenglet… With Dembélé the doubt will remain, of course.

Can’t guess the plan with Luuk de Jongacclaimed by the public when he entered, but the conviction of Aubameyang, author of two goals in anarchy and who, having made his debut with Barça in February, is already the team’s top scorer with 13 goals, 11 of them in LaLiga.

The Gabonese international confirmed his idyll with the goal, assisted by a phenomenal Dembélé, and is already among the top ten scorers in the championship, being the best signing of the winter market in memory at the Camp Nou and earning the right to, impossible to sign up Halandit could be him, as Mateu Alemany assured not too many days ago, Barça’s center forward next season.

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From the shadow of Riqui Puig, to the light of Aubameyang