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Philippe Coutinho talks Barcelona stint, Xavi, Klopp, Flick, Neymar: “I do not regret anything”



Photo by Mohamed Farag/Getty Images

Phillipe Coutinho’s €160 million move to Barcelona back in the summer of 2018 left fans across the globe puzzled. The former Liverpool star was indeed one of world football’s biggest names at the time, but the price tag seemed a bit high for the time and the market.

The player’s struggles in adapting to the Catalans’ way did not help. A combination of his performances and the pressure of the price tag on his back brought the roof down on Coutinho’s career, as he was forced to leave on loan as early as August 2019.

Speaking to SPORT in a recent interview, the former Barcelona forward opened up extensively on his stint in Catalonia, Barcelona’s current status and the managerial situation at the club.

His interview, however, began with a reference to Lionel Messi as the player was asked if he was open to linking up with the World Cup winner at Inter Miami.

“As I told you, I only think about the moment. I want to be well, prepare well, play good games, enjoy football. We never know what will happen in the future.”

“My name always appears in the newspapers where they speak in every way, good and bad. I try not to look at them and I’m just worried about doing my job well and enjoying it,” he added.

He then revealed that he does indeed follow Barcelona matches and news related to the club.

“Yes, I like to watch football games.”

Coutinho’s admission to keeping up to date with his former club led to a flurry of questions over Xavi’s resignation and the upcoming managerial change in Catalonia, on which he commented,

“Has Xavi made the right decision to leave? I don’t know, but what I can say about Xavi is that he has been a great player, a great coach although I coincided with him for a short time.

“At the club, they are doing a reformulation, but surely Barça will always be among the greats,” he added.

As one of the few players to have trained under two of the Azulgranas’ managerial targets, Jurgen Klopp and Hansi Flick, Coutinho opened up on which one of the two would be a better fit.

“Which one of Flick or Klopp is better? They are two great coaches. I have trained under both of them and the truth is that I had a very good relationship with them and their teams have always played very well. Any of these options is very good for any team in the world.”

“Will Klopp or Flick fit in at Barça? I don’t know, but each one adapts. Coaches also adapt to the way the club plays. We are talking about two great coaches who would fit into any team in the world,” he added.

“Football is always changing, there are always new ways of playing and I think they are two great coaches, this is all I can say,” he concluded.

Coutinho struggled at Barcelona. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Turning back the clock to his record move from Liverpool to Barcelona where he never really hit the ground running, the Brazilian revealed that he would not have done things differently.

“Do I regret joining Barça? No. At no time. Things didn’t go as I imagined, as people expected, as I expected because I am the first to demand myself in the field, I tell myself that I have to give more in the field, etc.”

“I tried everything, I have always been very professional and I do not regret anything. It was always my dream to play for Barça. I enjoyed it, I was able to meet many people, and win titles and it will always be in the history of my life.”

The Al-Duhail star was then quizzed if he would change anything from his time at Barcelona, to which he replied that he did indeed give his 100% when at the club in recent years.

“What will I change from my time at Barça? Nothing. I wouldn’t change anything. Going back is impossible, but as I said I don’t regret anything.”

“I always did my best in training as I do here and as I did last year and as I will do next year. If things fit well, perfect and if not, patience,” he added.

From one of Brazil’s brightest young talents, life in Europe did not explode quite like many expected it would for Coutinho. The player, when asked if he felt he deserved a better career, said,

“No. I am satisfied with my career. Many people think if it is good or bad, but I am satisfied with myself, I know what I represent, what I can do, I know who I am and this is the most important thing for me.”

Barcelona are currently thriving on the back of some of La Masia’s crown jewels, right from Pau Cubarsi in defence to Gavi and Lamine Yamal higher up. Coutinho gave his two cents of advice to the up and coming youngsters, saying,

“My message to the young players at Barça? I would tell them to enjoy as they are already doing. Many young people are coming and doing great good to Barça as it has always been in the history of this club.”

“The youth has always been very good. I would tell them to enjoy their game, the team and have fun on the field,” he added.

Moving onto the topic of international football, the former Barcelona star revealed his stance on participating in the next World Cup.

“Playing in the next World Cup? Because of age, I wouldn’t have a problem, but as I said I want to go little by little, watch my games and let’s see. There is still a long time left and we are going to see what can happen.”

He also refused to rule out Neymar’s re-ascendency to the pinnacle of football, backing his compatriot through a time of serious adversity.

“Surely. We are talking about one of the best active players in the world. He has had a bad injury now, but he will surely come back stronger.”

“He is getting closer and closer to the field because of the news we see and surely has a lot to contribute to our national team, for the clubs and football,” he added.

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