Barcelona coach: Coutinho good fit for team but will be challenge to find position for him

Barcelona's new Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho poses with his new jersey. Photograph:( AFP )

WION Web Team Barcelona, Spain Jan 09, 2018, 08.36 AM (IST)

Barcelona and Liverpool have agreed on a 5-year deal to allow Philippe Coutinho to move to FC Barcelona.

"It's an honour for me, a great honour, but also a dream to be here," said Coutinho after he was officially unveiled as a Barca player.


Coutinho has already had connections with the Barcelona line-up. The 25 year old has another Brazilian buddy in Barca, Paulinho, and has played with Luis Suarez for 18 months at Liverpool, about which Coutinho said, "It's an honour to be able to play with him (Suarez) again."

"He's helped me a lot, wrote to me a lot and explained to me about the club and city... He even visited a few houses for me! He's a very close friend" said Coutinho.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde had been eyeing Coutinho for some time, since Barca's the current legends -- Messi, Saurez and Iniesta -- are already in their 30's.

Valverde also predicted that Coutinho will fit comfortably into his star-studded team.

"He has a very different role to play for the betterment of the team, he is not here to replace Neymar or Iniesta," Valverde said in a statement.

Valverde however added that it would be a challenge to find a position for Coutinho.

"I have seen him play in various positions -- on the right, the left, in the middle, on the wings," said Valverde

Coutinho is likely to be used to give Iniesta some rest so that the captain can prepare for the Champions League as Barcelona seek to wrest the trophy back from bitter rivals Real Madrid.

Also read: Camp Nou, fans welcome Coutinho

Barcelona made three bids for Coutinho last year, but Liverpool stood firm but finally, the deal has been cracked with an amount of 120 million euros.

Rio-born Coutinho scored 54 goals for Liverpool in all competitions, although he won no silverware during his five-year stay at Anfield.

Coutinho is likely to make his debut at home to Alaves on January 28.