Camp Nou, fans welcome Coutinho

Barcelona and Liverpool have agreed to a deal to allow Philippe Coutinho to move to the Spanish giants FC Barcelona. Photograph:( Twitter )

AFP Barcelona, Spain Jan 08, 2018, 12.13 PM (IST)

Philippe Coutinho is to be officially unveiled as a Barcelona player on Monday as he completes a 160-million-euro ($192 million) move the third richest in history that he described as "a dream come true".

The 25-year-old former Liverpool playmaker will be officially presented to the world's media after Barca coach Ernesto Valverde predicted the Brazilian would comfortably fit into a team already containing global superstar Lionel Messi.

In a video message on Sunday showing Coutinho posing for photographers at the Camp Nou wearing a Barcelona jacket, he said: "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!"


Coutinho has agreed to 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 lined up alongside Suarez for 18 months at Liverpool before the Uruguayan made the same move to FC Barcelona 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 would be a challenge shoehorning his new recruit into a squad already 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 timing of Barca's move for Coutinho has been questioned because he will not be able to play in the Champions League having already played in the competition for Liverpool this season.

But he is likely to be used to give 33-year-old Iniesta a rest, keeping the veteran midfielder fresh for the Champions League.