The 2023 season has not been the easiest for the LA Galaxy. Once the dominant force in the city — and indeed, a dominant force in Major League Soccer — the Galaxy sit 13th out of the 14 teams in the Western Conference this year, and only three teams across MLS have scored fewer goals.
But an undoubted bright spot for LA this year has been the emergence of Riqui Puig as a genuine MLS star. Even better news for the Galaxy is that the player is not contemplating a return to Europe any time soon — a statement that comes directly from the club’s head coach and sporting director.
Galaxy to “build around and build with” Puig
Speaking to The Athletic, Greg Vanney left no doubt as to the Galaxy‘s plans for a future with Puig.
“He’s our guy that we want to continue to build around and build with,” Vanney said.
The Galaxy made the surprising move for Puig in summer 2022, acquiring him on a free transfer after he spent nearly a decade with FC Barcelona. Puig struggled to break into Barcelona‘s first team after debuting in 2018, but the 24-year-old immediately became a key player upon arriving in Los Angeles. He has started all but one of his 31 appearances in the league and helped the Galaxy to the Western Conference semifinals in 2022.
Puig enjoying the limelight
Puig has found happiness and stability in Los Angeles, where he quickly became one of the top players in Major League Soccer. No other Galaxy player has more than Puig’s seven goal contributions this season, and it seems clear that LA plans to extend his contract past its 2026 expiration.
“I’ve been here for a year and it’s an amazing city, the football is totally different, I’m very comfortable in the city, they’re looking after me a lot and I came here looking for minutes and I’m getting them,” Puig said last month. “The truth is that I am very happy.”