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‘O Magico’ – The magician

Who is Bayern’s new signing Philippe Coutinho?

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FCB officials were delighted to announce on Friday that they had reached agreement on the transfer of Philippe Coutinho to FC Bayern. "The player will really strengthen our team," said sports director Hasan Salihamidzic, who was clearly thrilled with the transfer, which was completed on Sunday. "He'll give our attacking potential another dimension," enthused CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. The Brazilian is certainly a big name in world football, but what can the Bayern fans look forward to? fcbayern.com provides some details.

Career

Coutinho was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and his first contact with the ball came in indoor football, or futsal, which is very popular in Brazil. But he soon progressed to playing on grass and, in 2003 a move to CR Vasco da Gama heralded his arrival on the big stage. His outstanding technique was also quickly spotted in Europe and as early as 2008 Inter Milan secured the talent's services.

Initially though, Coutinho stayed with his home club, but in 2010 he finally made the move to Europe, pulling on an Inter shirt for the first time. In the same year he also made his debut for the Brazilian national team. While he was denied a major breakthrough in Milan, Liverpool were determined to sign him and in January 2013 Coutinho put pen to paper on Merseyside.

The forward's star was now definitely in ascendance. In 201 matches for the Reds, Coutinho scored 54 goals himself and was provider for another 45. This of course aroused a great deal of interest and Barcelona signed him in January 2018, making him the second most expensive player in the world at that time. However, his time with the Catalans was not without controversy, as he had a notable rival in Lionel Messi. His stats are nevertheless impressive: in 76 matches for Barcelona, he scored 21 times and provided 11 assists.

Playing style

"He's a player who offers us lots of options," was the way Salihamidzic described Coutinho as early as Friday, because the international can be deployed in almost any position in attack. At 1.72 metres tall, he may not be the biggest player physically, but thanks to his qualities he still usually stands out. A glance at his subtle technique clearly reveals his futsal training roots.

As a result of his dribbling skills, Coutinho was quickly christened "The Magician" in Liverpool, and in his homeland he was similarly called "O Magico". So Coutinho is a magician who can make the difference and, when on top form he's considered one of the best footballers in the world by many experts.

The 27-year-old has everything a team and its fans could wish for. Technique, speed, scoring ability and above all an awareness of the other players. He's a classic Brazilian playmaker who feels most at home playing as a number ten i.e. a creative midfielder. His greatest strengths lie in his ability to launch attacks and set the pace.

Coutinho's idol has always been his compatriot Ronaldinho. A comparison of the two is not in any way weakened when it comes to technical capabilities. Just like the Brazilian legend, the newcomer at Munich is also a great threat at set-pieces. Salihamidzic's conclusion: "With this player we're giving our fans something spectacular."

Shirt number

Coutinho inherits the number "10" at FC Bayern (click here to get the shirt) from Arjen Robben. However, this is not the only similarity with the Dutchman. Coutinho loves quickly switching from the right wing into the centre with the ball and then sinking it into the corner from distance. That's exactly what Mr. Wembley made his trademark on the right. Moreover, with the number "10" Coutinho already became the top player at Liverpool

Honours

Asked about the quality of his future player, Niko Kovac said after the match against Hertha on Friday: "If you look at the last Copa, you'll know what I'm talking about." Coutinho was instrumental in the Seleção's triumph at the 2019 South American Championship.

The fleet-footed Brazilian was able to experience the feeling of winning titles at an early age. Coutinho became 2007 Under-15 and 2009 Under-17 South American champion with Brazil's youth teams and won the Under-20 World Cup in 2011.

At club level, he helped his home club Vasco gain promotion to the top tier in 2009 as champions of the Série B, won the Italian Supercup with Inter in 2010 and the Italian Cup a year later. While at Barcelona, he won back-to back Spanish championships in 2018 & 2019 and lifted the Spanish Cup and the Supercup in 2018. In 2016, he was also named best Brazilian player in Europe (Samba d'Or winner).

Lifestyle

Coutinho is regarded as a devout Christian who puts his family above all else. His body is adorned with numerous tattoos, most of which are dedicated to his parents, siblings, his wife Aine and their two children.

Combined with his hunger for honours, these qualities make a good foundation for being happy as part of the FC Bayern family.

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