Riqui Puig to hold Designated Player spot for LA Galaxy

Riqui Puig

Riqui Puig will now count as a Designated Player for the LA Galaxy, the club announced Wednesday.

The 23-year-old Spanish midfielder arrived in LA last August from LaLiga giants FC Barcelona on a free transfer. He tallied three goals and five assists in 10 regular-season appearances, fueling hype he might be a Landon Donovan MLS MVP contender during the 2023 campaign.

“We are excited to announce Riqui Puig as our newest Designated Player,” LA head coach and sporting director Greg Vanney said in a release. “Riqui is an exceptional talent that has the capacity to impact games in many different ways. He is a tireless competitor with a combination of awareness and precision at high speed that is truly unique. We look forward to his continued contributions to the club for years to come.”

Puig, alongside Mark Delgado and Gaston Brugman, forms arguably one of MLS’s top midfield trios. They helped fuel a Western Conference Semifinal trip in the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs, owning a 4W-1L-5D record with Puig in the starting XI as well.

Puig initially signed a three-and-a-half-year contract through the end of the 2025 MLS season. He recorded two goals and three assists in 57 appearances (15 starts) across all competitions with FC Barcelona (2018-22).

The Galaxy’s DPs for 2023 are Puig, forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernández and winger Douglas Costa. Their U22 Initiative Players are forward Dejan Joveljić, midfielder Efraín Álvarez and right back Lucas Calegari, the latter of whom signed earlier this week on loan from Brazilian side Fluminense.