The Brazilian’s impact on the team has been tremendous considering how early it is because Coutinho has coped with similar situations before.
In the first few weeks in Bundesliga this season, Philippe Coutinho has been in tremendous form for Bayern Munchen. At times one may do all the analysis and yet fail to assess a player’s reaction to a new country and a new league.
Coutinho, who is considered as a Barcelona flop is pulling all the strings in the Bayern midfield which he used to do at Liverpool with aplomb. It cannot be asessed how a player adapts to the league and the new country.
Hailing from the highly acclaimed Vasco Da Gama academy, the Brazilian had the sport running through his veins since childhood. From playing on the concrete in his neighbourhood to partnering Neymar in Brazil’s youth teams, Coutinho always had it in him.
Remembering his childhood days back in Rio, Coutinho opened up about his childhood dream of playing at the Maracana. Like most kids in Brazil, he also played the beautiful sport with his friends on the streets of Rio de Janeiro.
“Where I lived there was a concrete football pitch. I played football almost every day there with my friends. While I was growing up, I always listened to the fans in the Maracanã. I always dreamt of one day playing there as a professional. And then I had the opportunity to make this dream a reality,” Coutinho said in his interview with Bundesliga.
Watch: Philippe Coutinho speaking about Bundesliga and FC Bayern Munchen
However, joining Internazionale in 2010-11 at the ripe age of 18 was not a good call. Evidently, the Brazilian playmaker struggled for game time in a star-studded Inter team. Despite being heralded as a star for the future by Spanish tactician Rafa Benitez, Coutinho hardly left his mark due to intense competition for places and a severe knee injury.
The injury came as a shocker as it meant to be the end of the road for Philippe Coutinho.
In his second season, nothing changed as the Nerazzurri had players like Diego Forlan and Wesley Sneijder in his position. But a solo goal in Inter’s 2-1 win over Cagliari meant that there was still a glimmer of hope. Based on that hope or otherwise Coutinho joined Spanish outfit Espanyol on loan in the January transfer window.
Then manager Mauricio Pochettino showed faith on the youngster and he did not disappoint. The change in air finally revealed the enigma in him, as Coutinho seamlessly gelled with players like Kalu Uche and veteran Spaniard, Joan Verdu. He was opening up with every game as his main highlight from the short Espanyol stint will be the famous freekick against Malaga and a stunning volley against Racing Santander.
Philippe Coutinho is remembered for this freekick when he played for Espanyol
This was the start of good things for the new Samba hero as Liverpool came calling. This is where his life changed for good and it took a different route. Brendan Rodgers played a huge role in him becoming a Premier League star. With countless memories, Coutinho simply lit up the league for the Reds’ fans. His long rangers were also in demand as he almost guided Liverpool to the title in 2013-14.
The Brazilian was also the centre of play in Klopp’s system at Merseyside, but his heart came in between when FC Barcelona came calling. However, with 54 goals in 202 appearances for the Reds, Coutinho will always be a modern day great at the club.
But right when he thought of taking the next step at Camp Nou, the Brazilian came tumbling down the ladder. After an eventful half-season, the Brazilian struggled to adjust to Ernesto Valverde’s style of play. He is primarily a playmaker who likes to play in the hole behind the forwards but Valverde saw him as replacement of Neymar on the left flank. Coutinho struggled and failed to live upto the expectations of Blaugrana fans.
The Bundesliga Champions came calling for Philippe Coutinho.
Once again history repeated itself in his career as Bayern came calling and in these few weeks at Allianz Arena, he has already been one of the most loved players in the side. His enigmatic aura and ability to pull the right strings from midfield elevates the overall quality of the German Champions.
While it is still early at Bavaria, the 27-year old has adapted well in a new league. Speaking about his first goal for Bayern, Coutinho was full of praises for Robert Lewandowski, as he said, “Everyone knows how special it is to score a hat-trick. He had the opportunity to do so and he is the designated penalty taker. But he gave me the opportunity to score my first goal in front of our fans. It was certainly a very special moment and I was able to score – I was very happy and grateful !”
With Coutinho’s inclusion, Bayern have become lethal in attack as the Brazilian is responsible for creating six big chances in the league till now while he has also contributed in defence making seven tackles. Every time he is on the pitch his hunger to prove himself is evident and with every game, the Brazilian playmaker is getting better.
His bond with Thiago Alcantara is very strong considering the latter’s Brazilian roots. However, if we can see that replicating on the field then it will be a nightmare for oppositions.
Coutinho currently averages 3.18 shots per 90 minutes with an impressive 0.47 expected assists per game. The Brazil International and the Copa America 2019 winner has already taken Bundesliga by storm and Bayern and Niko Kovac will hope that this continues even in Europe.
However, Coutinho holds Bundesliga at a very high place as he considers it to be the same level as the Premier League. He feels the intensity of the play is similar and there is hardly any room for error.
“I think that the Bundesliga is very similar to the Premier League in terms of the intensity of the games. The matches are always very even. Every team fights until the very end, for every single ball. This makes the games very intense. There is not much space to think or to hesitate on the ball”, said Coutinho.
Now as we speak about the magician brewing his magic spell, rumours suggest that the Bavarians are ready to place an offer to FC Barcelona. It can be a great move for 27-year old Brazilian who can finally achieve greatness in Germany. However, Coutinho might not make the same mistake of listening to his heart.