By ALPHONSUS N. EFFI
Phillip Coutinho Correira nicknamed “O Magico” (little magician) is being deemed surplus by the famous Barcelona Football Club. What an irony? This is a football maestro who under normal circumstances should be covering the vacuum created by the movement of Messi to PSG F.C on financial grounds. Sincerely speaking, the pedigree of a football artist like Phillip Coutinho need not be over-emphasized, no little wonder a lot of football followers, including pundits are dismayed about claims of Barcelona intending to offload him to other clubs for some reason.
Conversely, Phillip Coutinho started his football career like every other Brazilian child in the streets of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro to be precise. He was born as the child of Dona Esmeralda (mother) and Ze Carlos (father) at Rio de Janerio in Brazil, on June 12th, 1992. His family was extremely humbly inclined to the vagaries of life, even though their residence was close to the famous MARACANA stadium.
Quickly, the grandmother of his friend persuaded his father to register him in a nearby local team instead of allowing his talent to waste on the street. His father obliged and got him enrolled in a local team that focused on feeders teams not knowing that that singular act will become the messianic intent of his son, Phillip Coutinho Correira.
At 13, he realized football might be his full-time source of livelihood, especially his family. He got so good, he was invited to the under-14 squad of the Brazilian national team. His supportive parent/siblings and now wife, Aine Coutinho, would follow him to make sure they watch every single game, to give him the needed moral support. When he turned 16, inter-Milan secured his signature for the sum 7.7 million but allowed him to continue developing at Vasco Da Gama F.C until two years later, when he joined them fully. At Inter Milan he made his debut in the Champions League match against Atletico De Madrid, which Inter-Milan lost by 2 goals to nil. Due to struggles for regularity in starting lineup, he was loaned out to Spanish club, Espanyol during the January Transfer window of the 2011/2012 season until the summer in June.
He ended the loan spell with 5 goals in 16 matches. As a result of these attributes, Liverpool Football Club signed him in 2013 on recommendation from Liverpool F.C’s ex-coach Raphael Benitez who described Coutinho as a ‘Top Quality’ player.
Thus, his services were secured for the sum of £8.5 Million. Even Mauricio Pochettino who then was the coach of ESPANYOL also wanted young Coutinho, but was surpassed by Liverpool F.C. and ascribed the No. 10 jerseys. His debut in Liverpool was also in a loss.
He came in as a substitute in the 77th minute; in a match against West Bromwich Albion at Liverpool home Stadium, Anfield.
As of March the same year, Coutinho had made lots of strides for the Premier League, picking up awards of the team’s Player of The Month, after securing 3 assists and 1 goal. In 2013-2014, he had contributed immensely to Liverpool securing the second position in the Premier League table. During the season, pundits sang praises of him and even the club decided to offer him an improved long-term contract on the 3rd of February which was to keep him in the Premier League side till 2020.
He was voted Liverpool F.C Best Player of The Year, nominated PFA Player of The Year, and even shortlisted for the PFA Young Player of The Year Award. These feats were confirmed until Barcelona F.C submitted a bid for him.
On January 6th, 2018, Liverpool F.C announced that they had agreed to transfer Coutinho to Barcelona F.C for a record fee for both teams, invariably, it was gathered that his father Ze Carlos was never a fan of Barcelona F.C and disliked the arrangement. Nevertheless, Coutinho made his debut in a winning match for Barcelona against his former team Espanyol, after he substituted for club veteran, Andreas Iniesta.
He scored his first goal for Barcelona F.C in a Copa del Rey-semi final match against Valencia F.C. Though his football prowess never saw the light of the day at Barcelona, because of the highly favoured mercurial talent Lionel Messi, who happened to be playing at the same position with him No. 10, attacking-mid field Maestro position.
The thought of the most gifted pundits in the game is that Barcelona F.C under the sweat merchant, Ronald Koeyman the Dutch legend, who equally played for Barcelona in his hay days should be smart enough to recognize the special talent of Coutinho the little magician to take over the role of Messi in the team. This is so because Coutinho is very skillful with his ball distributions like that of Messi, does the necessarily long and short ball distributions equally well, and can articulately and effectively manage set-paces with quality strikes. In a nutshell, his trickery and knowledge of the game speak volumes.
Thus, Football Officianados (Pundits) internationally and advising that Barcelona F.C coaches and officials generally should critically analyze the prowess of Phillip Coutinho Correira Alias “O Margico’ (The little magician) to fill the vacuum of Lionel Messi, in the club and take barcelona to greater heights, than allowing him to go to another club on a flimsy excuse of cash trap or club transfer.