Barcelona loanee Philippe Coutinho lifted the Champions League with Bayern Munich on Sunday night but had some words of compassion for compatriot Neymar after the game.
Coutinho spoke to Movistar and explained what he told the former Barcelona star, who was left in tears after missing out on lifting the European Cup for the second time in his career.
“I have told Neymar that he has had a great season and that he is a great player. He will fight many more times both for this and for the title of best player in the world.”
Coutinho also discussed his future after the game. The Brazilian is due to return to Barcelona as his loan has expired, but it’s not clear if he will remain at the Camp Nou.
“I have not thought about that. Until now I was only thinking about the final. Now I have to go back. What I can say is that I want to work and succeed and we’ll see what happens. We have had a great season. We have prepared very well from the beginning and I think we deserved this victory. We are very happy.”
Barcelona are under new management after Ronald Koeman replaced Quique Setien, meaning Coutinho could get a second chance at the Camp Nou. The Brazilian is contracted to the club until 2023 and has a buyout clause of €400 million.
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What Next For Coutinho and Barcelona?
Coutinho had seemed certain to leave Barcelona this summer, but a combination of factors means it’s looking increasingly likely he could stay. A difficult transfer market due to Covid-19 means clubs are unlikely to meet Barcelona’s asking price.
Meanwhile, Koeman appears keen to keep Coutinho and give him another chance to prove himself at the Camp Nou. According to Fernando Polo at Mundo Deportivo, the Dutchman is planning talks with the Brazilian.
Coutinho has seemed destined to return to the Premier League. The midfielder’s agent, Kia Joorabchian, has spoken about how it’s Coutinho’s preference to play in the English top-flight.
“After the Champions League is finished and whatever happens then we’ll sit down. I haven’t even spoken to him about next year. It could be that Barcelona is the ultimate destination. He loves the Premier League, he wants to come to the Premier League, but finances and the situation of COVID will play a big part because he’s a big player with big numbers.”
Coutinho will now return to Barcelona flushed with success after completing the treble in his one-year stay at Bayern. Yet the Brazilian could prove to be a useful asset to Koeman as he attempts to build a new team at the Camp Nou next season.