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Youngster who 'astonished' Lionel Messi at Barcelona joins MLS side as league enjoys biggest ever transfer window

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Lionel Messi of Barcelona and Riqui Puig of Barcelona talk during the Liga match between FC Barcelona and Granada CF at Camp Nou.
Lionel Messi, Riqui Puig.Getty/Quality Sport Images
  • Riqui Puig was once tipped for greatness at Barcelona by Lionel Messi.

  • But the 22-year-old has now left the club to join MLS side Los Angeles Galaxy.

  • The shock signing continues what has been the MLS' biggest transfer window ever.

The Los Angeles Galaxy have completed the shocking signing of Barcelona youngster Riqui Puig, who was once tipped for greatness at the Camp Nou by Lionel Messi.

Puig, 22, made his Barcelona debut in 2018 and was touted to become a star at the club after impressing his teammates in training.

According to Spanish newspaper SPORT, Messi was "astonished" by Puig's ability, while fellow club greats Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta were said to be "captivated" by the midfielder.

But after making just 14 appearances for Barca last season, he was dropped from Xavi's squad for the upcoming campaign.

The Galaxy announced Thursday the Spaniard had joined the club on a free transfer, signing a three-and-a-half year deal.

"We are pleased to welcome Riqui to the LA Galaxy," said head coach Greg Vanney. "Riqui is a very technical and well-educated player with incredible experiences for his age. He will fit seamlessly into our group and style of play."

"Today I must say goodbye to all of you, to my home, my colours and to part of my life," Puig, who was born in Catalonia, said Thursday on Instagram.

"It is now time to start a new exciting adventure that is going to challenge me to give my all."

Galaxy's signing of Puig continues what has been the MLS' biggest transfer window in history.

Already this summer, a number of high-profile European stars have moved stateside, including Italian duo Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi, who swapped Serie A for Toronto FC, and legendary defender Giorgio Chiellini, who joined Los Angeles FC after leaving Juventus.

The five-time Champions League winner Gareth Bale also joined LAFC from Real Madrid.

Read the original article on Insider