Puig, Barcelona’s penalty shootout hero, reveals the ‘desire’ of the first team after scoring a crucial penalty in the Super Cup

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The La Masia product has played sparingly this season, but came out ahead with the decisive goal against Real Sociedad on Wednesday.

Barcelona midfielder Riqui Puig says he will continue to fight for his place in the team after scoring the decisive penalty in Wednesday’s penalty shootout against Real Sociedad.

Puig helped his team advance to the final of the Spanish Super Cup after a 1-1 draw in 120 minutes. The 21-year-old scored from the penalty spot to claim a 3-2 win on penalties for his team.

While many fans have called for the talented youngster to receive more minutes, Puig has been used sparingly this season by Barça head coach Ronald Koeman.

Puig came off the bench against the Society on Wednesday for his seventh appearance of the season, all of which have come as a substitute.

Although his chances of consistent minutes still seem slim, Puig said after the game that he would continue to fight for his place at Camp Nou.

“I am very happy to have scored the last penalty,” said Puig. “I offered to take it. I shot with great conviction, you have to believe in yourself. I have never lost the desire to be in the first team and I will continue to fight for it.

“Ronald named four players to take penalties. I asked for the fifth. I am a very happy guy, I have never lost my smile. I am lucky, I will never give up.”

Koeman confirmed that Puig had volunteered to take the decisive penalty.

He said: “The final penalty? I had four names written and I asked who wanted to shoot the last one to win. Riqui wanted to take it, with determination.”

Koeman also praised two other 21-year-olds who have made their way with Barça this season, Ronald Araujo and Oscar Mingueza.

“Araujo has improved a lot in a short time, especially in how calm he is and his personality,” Koeman said. “He has also improved with the ball. He’s on a very good path, but he has to keep working. It’s the future of the club, like Mingueza. Be humble and keep your feet on the ground.

Barcelona will now face the winner of the other semi-final between Real Madrid and Athletic Club in Sunday’s final.


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