News ID: 207783
Published: 0301 GMT January 08, 2018

Coutinho seals ‘dream’ Barcelona move, ruled out for three weeks

Coutinho seals ‘dream’ Barcelona move, ruled out for three weeks
Philippe Coutinho is presented to Barcelona’s fans at the Camp Nou on January 8, 2018.
ALBERT GEA/REUTERS

Philippe Coutinho completed his move from Liverpool to Barcelona – but will not be able to make his debut for three weeks because of injury.

Coutinho signed a five-and-a-half-year contract with Barça on Monday to finalize a transfer that could be worth up to £142 million to Liverpool, the Guardian reported.

However, Barça fans will have to wait to see their new signing in action after the club announced he presented with a thigh injury during his medical, which is set keep him sidelined for around 20 days. Coutinho also missed Liverpool’s opening two games in 2018 with a thigh problem.

The Brazilian was welcomed by Barcelona’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu.

“We’re delighted to present Philippe Coutinho, a player who we’ve tried to get to come and play for us since last summer,” he told the club’s website.

“We knew it was not going to be easy to get him here, we’ve been talking and working for months on this but one of the important aspects was he wanted to come here. And he helped make an effort, and he was patient, and that was been key in him coming here.

“And I’m very pleased to announce the signing of one the world’s star players and he will be here for many years. I also want to thank Liverpool, one of Europe’s biggest clubs, for allowing him to leave and come here.”

Making a brief comment before getting ready to head out on to the Camp Nou pitch for a photo-shoot in front of the club’s supporters, Coutinho said, “I want to thank the president and everyone who has made the transfer possible. I’m very happy, as I’ve said it was my dream. I hope to live up to expectations on the pitch.”

Coutinho becomes the second most expensive footballer in history after his compatriot Neymar, who left Barça for Paris St.-Germain last summer in a £200.6 million deal.

If Coutinho is unavailable for the remainder of the month he would miss at least four La Liga and Copa del Rey games. Barcelona’s first match of February is scheduled to be the derby against Espanyol, with whom Coutinho spent six months on loan from Internazionale in 2012.

 

‘Versatile player’

 

Speaking after the Levante game on Sunday, Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde said it was "too soon" to determine where Coutinho will play in his side.

It has been speculated that he could play alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in attack or become 33-year-old midfielder Andres Iniesta's long-term successor.

"We can take advantage of his versatility," Valverde said.

"He scores and sets up goals, and going forward he can help us a lot as he can play both inside and out wide."

Valverde is confident Coutinho can improve a side that is nine points clear at the top of La Liga.

"I think he can bring a lot to the team," he added.

"He is here now, and good luck to him, because if he has luck then it will be good for us."

Barcelona midfielder Paulinho plays alongside Coutinho for Brazil and is looking forward to linking up with his compatriot at club level.

"He is a great player, a magnificent player," the former Tottenham player said.

"I am certain he will really help Barca to attain our objectives this season.

"We hope to see him playing for us as soon as possible."

   
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