Before the beginning of the season, many people thought that things would not start well in Barcelona. One of its top stars, Brazilian Neymar Jr. left the club after four years, with a record of 105 goals and 80 assists. Neymar was sold to Paris Saint-Germain at 222 million euros, the most expensive transfer in soccer history.
To replace the Brazilian crack, Barcelona signed 20-year-old Frenchman Ousmane Dembélé, who came from Germany's Borussia Dortmund for 105 million euros. However, he was only able to play five games -without goals and with one assist-) in six months due to injuries.
Nevertheless, currently, and after 18 games, Barça is the absolute leader of La Liga Santander, first division of Spain, with 48 points. The team is nine points ahead of Atletico Madrid and 11 above Valencia CF. The difference between Barça and Real Madrid, eternal rivals, is 16 points.
Furthermore, to the good streak, it has to be added the official signing of Philippe Coutinho.
Coutinho, the little wizard
Since his compatriot Neymar left the team, surprisingly last year, the Blaugranas were already strongly scanning Coutinho. Negotiations between Barcelona and Liverpool, the former midfielder's team, finally closed at 120 million euros plus 40 for variables in objectives fulfilled. The contract was signed for five and a half seasons and a recession clause of 400 million euros.
Coutinho began his professional career at the age of 16 in 2009 with Vasco da Gama. From an early age, he was considered one of the youngsters with the greatest projection in Brazilian football. He was at the South American U-15, U-17 and U-20 World Cup champion. This allowed him to be signed by Inter de Milan in 2010, a European team in which he participated in three seasons, although his performance was not the expected.
That same year, he was called for the first time to the national team of Brazil. After a short six-month period playing on loan from RCD Espanyol in 2011, he returns to Inter. However, he is bought almost immediately by Liverpool, a team in which he would finally stand out as one of the best players in the world.
For six seasons in the English team, Coutinho showed that he was made for great things. His maturity in Liverpool enabled him to score 54 goals and deliver 46 assists. Furthermore, his play style is like the classic Brazilian number 10, such as Zico or Ronaldinho, who can conduct the orchestra by his great technique and vision.
Additionally, he is quite skillful, fast, and with a powerful and fine shot. Despite his short height of 173 cms., for which he was nicknamed "the little magician", Coutinho is one of the bastions next to Neymar Jr. and Gabriel Jesús from the renaissance of the Brazilian national team and his rescue of the 'jogo bonito'.
LatinAmerican Post | Juan Felipe Guerrero
Copy edited by Marcela Peñaloza