Coutinho leaves the Eibar field injured. Alejandro Garcia / EFE
He entered with the duel against Eibar underway but with enthusiasm, participatory, with the desire to recover lost ground after being stopped for a month due to a hamstring injury. More than anything because Philippe Coutinho (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 28 years old) had already once won the trust of Ronald Koeman after arriving from Bayern – on loan from the Barça club – in an optimal state, to the point that when They met in preseason, the player entered the coach's office with the idea of requesting a loan from the Premier and left with the Barça crest embroidered on his chest. The second chapter of Coutinho began at the Camp Nou. It did not last long.
After 25 minutes against Eibar, Coutinho fell to the ground again, breaking the external meniscus in his left knee. He could barely walk and between two of them they took him off the field, helpless and furious as the player could not. Maybe that was the beginning of the end as a Barça player for the most expensive player in the history of Barcelona – 120 million fixed euros plus 40 in variables to Liverpool -, now installed in collective oblivion and with the certainty that the club will look for him a transfer or, as a lesser evil, a transfer if he does not turn the sock around because the contract ends in 2023. And that, in Coutinho and because of the precedents, resembles a rather complicated company.
Coutinho is still lost in his Barça labyrinth Coutinho will be three months of low
Operated on January 2, the Brazilian's recovery plan was to stay at home and do some exercises under the medical supervision – and also of a physiotherapist who works with him – that did not require the sports city and that , due to precautions due to the covid, they were extended until two weeks ago. But these two and a half months have been very hard for him because he felt a little out of the group, far from what was cooking in the dressing room, which paid for his already natural saudade from Carioca. But there is not a single person who knows him and speaks ill of him.
“He is a great guy, he has a clean heart and he is not at all believed. But he is too shy and it is difficult for him to open up ”, they say from the offices of the Barcelona sports center. “He is a ten as a person, spectacular. There is no time when I see you and do not worry about your family, about you … ", adds a club worker. He responds to jokes with a smile. But he never takes it the wrong way and never returns it. This is the case and it is necessary in a changing room because it also creates a good atmosphere. That's why he got along so well with [Luis] Suárez and he continues to get along with Leo ”, they point out from the Barca dressing room. But with that goals are not scored or the exorbitant price paid by the club is justified. "A slab for him", everyone clarifies without exception in the sports city, enraged because they understand that football owes him one, at least at Barça.
No offers in two
courses During his first time as a Barça player, two years ago and medium, Coutinho started in tune, always shielded in his dry and accurate launch. With the passage of time and the matches, however, he remained a starter in the line-up but absent in football. He was so bad that he asked to leave three months before the end of the next course and that is why the loan was sought to Bayern , since there was no offer in the technical secretariat. And it has not been different this season, with a hopeful start with two goals and two assists in the first five games, later the numbers blurred because he only made one more target until reaching 14 games. Three months, Coutinho is on the right track to return at the beginning of April, although it could be a bit delayed because a fat cyst appeared during his recovery in the area, nothing serious. "The problem is that he picks up pace again, now that Koeman has the equipment made," they point out from the offices of the sports city. More than anything because Coutinho is fragile in the spirit and Pedri has been screwed in his place, blessed by Koeman, praised by all and even summoned by Luis Enrique. It already happened with Dembélé a couple of years ago, overwhelmed by the competition and eroded his football.
But for just over a week, Coutinho has been smiling again because he already lives as a locker room even though he exercises alone, so he is not only limited to watching the games from the stands. "Always is. Quiet, but he's there ”, they say from the dressing room. He knows that Koeman likes him, in love with his style and vision with the ball at his feet, even if he lost his step before Pedri's irruption. But his salary is around 13 million euros and the club needs to lighten the numbers.
“We are in a very complicated and different market because there is a before and after after the pandemic. Nobody doubts that he is a good player. But you have to see the evolution of the player and also the market itself ”, they say from the sports area, determined to ask for more than 60 million. It happens that no offer came from England in winter and if he does not play or does not shine in the America's Cup it will be difficult for them to find a way out. And it will be the most expensive problem in the history of Barça.
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