Riqui Puig, from Los Angeles: “There was no good treatment from Xavi”

walk Riqui Puig (8-13-1999, Matadepera) from the Los Angeles Galaxy training camp, at the Dignity Health Sports Park. Some of the Spanish media posted on the Barça tour are waiting for him. He expected more, but sighs before conceding a few questions.

Let us know how you are doing in Los Angeles. She left Barcelona without saying much and has not given interviews. What is your life here?

I’ve been here for a year now. It is an impressive city, here football is different. I am comfortable in the city. There is a lot of traffic, but they are taking great care of me at this club. I came here looking for minutes and confidence and I’m having it.

He is playing well…

On a personal level, I am very happy but on a collective level this year we have had casualties such as Chicharito and Martín Cáceres and it is costing us. But on a personal level, in the Rose Bowl game I scored the winning goal and that has an impact; and the truth that I am happy. At the group level we have to try to get into the playoffs.

Why did you leave European football so young, have you reflected on that a year later?

More me, that all my life I have been in Barcelona and I had not moved. The change was abysmal, from one extreme to another, but it is true that the coach called me, he told me the idea. The truth is that the idea fit me. In Barcelona I was not comfortable, off the field either. There were things outside football that made me decide to leave. At the football level it is another League and another football. LaLiga in Spain is the best in the world and the teammates are some of the best in the world. But you change. The truth is that you come to another idea but I am happy here after a year. Of the decisions I’ve made in my short career, it’s the ones I’m most proud of.

Did he go a little unfair to you?

I don’t know if I would say unfair, but I was unlucky in some things. The coach changed a lot in the three years that I was there, there were many departures, the club was screwed up at a time… I think that now Barça, because of how they are registered, has the idea of ​​years ago and has started to win again. I was in a section that was not very comfortable within the club.

I was in the right place, but not at the right time…

I think that the moment, being young, from the quarry, was not the best in the club. Maybe I didn’t have as many opportunities or continuity and the truth is that sometimes I get sad about that issue, but I’m very happy. They treat me well and I have the confidence I needed.

Is your idea to make a career here?

I have two more years on my contract, but at the end of the year I may make a decision. I am competitive. This is a competitive league and it will be more so with Messi, Busquets and Alba, but I have to look at my future. I’ll sit with the Galaxy. We need a competitive team because I came here to win titles.

Do you feel like taking on Messi?

Yes. And I speak with Busi and Jordi Alba every week. Being able to play against old teammates is one of the things that makes me most excited, especially with Busquets who helped me in the dressing room. In Miami they will adapt well and their family will be fine there.

From what is understood, he is thinking of returning.

For my future and my football it is an idea that I have in my head. I came very young to train, gain experience, but if I have an opportunity to go to Europe I wouldn’t say no. I would talk to the Galaxy. I am happy and this League has a future but I also want to compete, let’s see what happens.

Barça has a clause and could return for 10 million. The example of Oriol Romeu could inspire you…

Oriol has been away from the club for many years, I only one year. The truth is that now going back is not what I am imagining and thinking. It is the club I have been with since I was little and I used to go to the field with my father, but now I have other things on my mind. Of course, I am very happy for Oriol. I shared a dressing room with him in the Catalan team and that makes me very happy.

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How do you see Barcelona?

I follow him a lot. I try to follow all the games and the club is improving financially. That shows in the signings. The wage bill is improving and I am happy for the club because they deserve to win titles again and compete in Europe. In recent years they have had a squad to do more things in Europe but they have not been lucky.

How did your relationship with Xavi end?

It was him directly before the end of the season. We sat down and it was he who told me that he didn’t count on me. Perhaps the president thought differently because he said that I was a player for the future and that he wanted me to stay, but neither was I going to stay at a club where the coach didn’t want me. It is true that there was no good treatment when I went to train in the sense that he did not let me train the first few weeks, when it is true that if I am a player in a team with a contract I have to exercise and he cannot prohibit me from not training. That’s what bothered me the most. So I quickly made up my mind and changed and found a way out

Are you surprised that he had that treatment being you from La Masia and he from La Masia?

Yes. And more because Xavi called my parents twice to go to Qatar, also to do something with another club. I had a good relationship with my parents. They are from Terrassa and one of his friends is close to us. What hurts me the most as a player and as a friend who thought we were with Xavi’s family. I couldn’t succeed with him and that happens as a player, but it is true that, not being able to train the first week of preseason, it bothered me a lot and that’s it.

How is a day for Riqui in Los Angeles?

The city is great. There are a hundred kilometers of city. If you want to go from one place to another with the traffic there is, you have two hours. But you can play golf in peace, which is something that works very well for me to disconnect. Sometimes in Barcelona when I played golf clubs fell everywhere. You can go to dinner because people don’t bother here. There are many stars here and a soccer player is not much. Watching the Lakers is a brutal experience… Every child should spend even six months here because it’s brutal. I could already do interviews in English… now I have my whole family here, my girlfriend, my sister who has now become a mother…

He talks about golf, about going out to dinner in peace. Do you think that in Barcelona we put a label on it that was not fair?

I’m young. I think that at 22 all kids want to go out, to have dinner. And the truth is that it is true that in the end there were extra-sports issues. They followed me home. They wanted to know where I was going to have dinner, have a drink and that, for my privacy, was beyond me. It’s one of the things that bothered me the most. Furthermore, football is different here. Because this is the fourth sport and in Barcelona it is the first. And people sometimes look for things outside. I have also seen that they say that Pablo Torre goes out to party. and that’s pretty sad

But what is still…

Lifetime. The feeling will never change. It is true that I am far away now but my father is a partner, my brother is a partner, me too. And that will never change. I have been in two Champions…

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