Philippe Coutinho's dream of playing for Barcelona is now a reality.
But he'll have to wait a little longer to make his debut.
Upon completing a reported €160-million transfer from Liverpool on Monday and signing a five-and-a-half-year contract with the Blaugrana, the Brazilian was ruled out for around three weeks with a pre-existing thigh problem.
👕🤩 @Phil_Coutinho 💙❤️#CoutinhoDay pic.twitter.com/8Zy8MAqJLB— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 8, 2018
👕🤩 @Phil_Coutinho 💙❤️#CoutinhoDay pic.twitter.com/8Zy8MAqJLB
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 8, 2018
Coutinho missed Liverpool's first two matches of 2018 with the injury. Some suspected he had exaggerated the issue to finally push through a deal that had been in the works since last summer. Back then, he complained of back pain right around the time Barcelona made its first bid.
The Independent reported in September that a scan revealed "nothing was wrong with him." Coutinho later represented Brazil in a World Cup qualifier, with the team's doctor noting that he was in the "perfect condition" to play.
But Monday's medical at Barcelona's Ciutat Esportiva facility confirmed his current injury is, in fact, real.
The 25-year-old long campaigned for this move to happen. Although his performances for Liverpool in the first half of the season were exemplary, manager Jurgen Klopp said Coutinho was "desperate" to join Barcelona. Neither Klopp nor Liverpool's owners were able to convince the Brazilian to stay.
Coutinho spent five years on Merseyside, registering 54 goals and 43 assists after arriving from Inter in 2013 for a measly €9.6 million.
The midfielder has prior experience in La Liga, having played on loan at Espanyol during the 2011-12 season.
That was long before he emerged as one of the world's best playmakers, a role in which he relished at Anfield.
He is now the third-most expensive footballer in the sport's history, behind only Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
The deal that sent Coutinho to Catalonia reportedly includes an upfront payment of €120 million and a further €40 million in add-ons. His buyout clause is set at a whopping €400 million
"I want to thank the president and everyone who has made it possible," Coutinho told reporters. "I am very happy, it's a dream come true, and I hope to be up to the job on the field."
He added, "It's very emotional for me to wear the shirt of the most important club in the world. I am anxious to get going."
Coutinho won't have the opportunity to play for Barcelona in the Champions League because he is cup-tied. He already appeared in the tournament's group stage with Liverpool.
Should he need three weeks to recover, he would have a chance to make his debut against Deportivo Alaves on Jan. 28. He would also be in contention to face former side Espanyol on Feb. 4.
Coutinho has yet to select a number.
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