Thursday, January 17, 2019 | ePaper

Barcelona to unveil $192 million man Coutinho

  • Print


AFP, Barcelona :

Philippe Coutinho has described his 160-million-euro ($192 million) move to Barcelona as "a dream come true" with coach Ernesto Valverde predicting the Brazilian will comfortably fit into a team already containing global superstar Lionel Messi.
The 25-year-old playmaker, the world's third most expensive footballer after securing a long-desired transfer from Liverpool, will be officially presented to the world's media on Monday from 1130 GMT.
But in a club video message released on Sunday, Coutinho, who posed for photographers at the Camp Nou wearing a tracksuit top in the colours of the team, insisted: "I want to play, win trophies and make the supporters happy.  Those are my objectives.
"Barca fans, I'm here now. It's a dream come true! I hope to see you tomorrow (Monday)."
Coutinho has agreed a deal through to 2023 and is looking forward to playing alongside Messi, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta.
He described them as well as club stalwarts Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets as "idols".
Coutinho has already played alongside Suarez for 18 months at Liverpool before the Uruguayan made the same move to Spain in 2014.
"Everybody knows about his quality. He has been playing at the highest level for years now and that is important," said Suarez.
"Now we need to make sure he feels at home because we know that changing club is always difficult, but I think he is the type of player who will fit well into the team."
Valverde admitted that it will be a challenge shoehorning his new recruit into a squad which is running away with the Spanish league title.
"Coutinho is a player who I think can bring a lot to us," said Valverde.
"He's an important signing."
"I have seen him play in various positions-on the right, the left, in the middle, on the wings. We will evaluate all of this...but, of course, I don't think he will play as a goalkeeper!"
The swoop for Coutinho-which contains a 400 million-euro release clause -- is the third biggest transfer in football history.
It is outranked only by Paris Saint-Germain's world record 222 million-euro signing of Neymar from Barcelona last year, and PSG's capture of French striker Kylian Mbappe for a deal that will eventually be worth 180 million euros.
Rio-born Coutinho arrived at Liverpool from Inter Milan for a mere o8.5 million ($11.5 million) in January 2013 and scored 54 goals for the club in all competitions, although he won no silverware during his five-year stay at Anfield.
Barcelona had tried to sign Coutinho last summer and his departure is a blow to Liverpool as he had just returned to top form after an injury-hit start to the season, scoring seven goals in the last eight games of 2017 to put his side firmly in the Champions League places.
"It is no secret that Philippe has wanted this move to happen since July, when Barcelona first made their interest known," said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
"Philippe was insistent with me, the owners and even his teammates this was a move he was desperate to make happen."
For Barcelona, Coutinho's signing allows the club to move on from the bitter experience of losing his Brazil teammate Neymar to Qatar-backed PSG.
Coutinho's age is also highly attractive to Barca with Messi, Suarez and Iniesta all in their thirties.
Liverpool have been tipped to quickly reinvest their windfall from the Coutinho sale.
Despite already paying Southampton 85 million euros ($102 million) for defender Virgil van Dijk, Klopp will be chasing an attacker with Leicester City's Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez and Monaco midfielder Thomas Lemar already linked with a switch to Anfield.

More News For this Category

Late winners as 'helter-skelter' Australia down Syria to go through

Tom Rogic's injury-time thunderbolt settled an Asian Cup thriller on Tuesday as defending champions Australia beat Syria 3-2 to reach the last 16 and knock out their war-torn rivals.The result

Struggling Fulham sign Babel from Besiktas

Struggling Fulham sign Babel from Besiktas

Fulham signed former Liverpool forward Ryan Babel from Besiktas on Tuesday as the Premier League strugglers bid to bolster their spluttering attack and avoid relegation.Netherlands international Babel has joined Claudio

Newcastle avoid another upset in FA Cup

Newcastle avoid another upset in FA Cup

AP, Dhaka :Newcastle advanced to the fourth round of the FA Cup on Tuesday, though coach Rafa Benitez doesn't seem too keen on making a deep run in the competition.By

Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina receiving a football ( as a souvenir) from Senior Vice-President of Bangladesh    Football Federation (BFF) Abdus Salam Murshedy, MP, when a delegation of BFF led by its President Kazi Md Salahuddin met her at the Gono Bhaban on Tuesday night.

Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina receiving a football ( as a souvenir) from Senior Vice-President of Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) Abdus Salam Murshedy, MP, when a delegation of BFF led by its President Kazi Md Salahuddin met her at the Gono Bhaban on Tuesday night.

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech to retire at the end of season

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech announced on Tuesday that he will retire at the end of the season.The 36-year-old, who won four Premier League titles with Chelsea, revealed his decision on

Roma's goalkeeper Robin Olsen in action during the Italian Cup soccer match between AS     Roma and Virtus Entella at the Olimpico stadium in Rome, Italy on Monday.

Roma's goalkeeper Robin Olsen in action during the Italian Cup soccer match between AS Roma and Virtus Entella at the Olimpico stadium in Rome, Italy on Monday.

Iran face Iraq at Asian Cup

AFP, Dubai :One of football's great rivalries takes centre-stage at the Asian Cup on Wednesday when Iran play Iraq still smarting from their controversial exit four years ago.Iran played most

Land of Smiles as Thais go from rabble to round of 16

Land of Smiles as Thais go from rabble to round of 16

Thailand looked in disarray when they sacked their coach one game into the Asian Cup but the War Elephants, inspired by their very own "Messi", are now dreaming of greater

Jesus keeps up scoring spree, Man City beat Wolves 3-0

AP, Manchester :Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is keeping a close eye on Gabriel Jesus now the young striker's family are no longer with him in England.Maintaining his hot streak

BFF accords reception to three MPs

BFF accords reception to three MPs

Sports Reporter :Bangladesh Football Federation accorded a reception to three newly elected Members of Parliament (MP) at the conference room in BFF house on Tuesday.The MPs are: Senior Vice-President of