Barcelona didn’t work out for me, Coutinho admits
Philippe Coutinho accepts his time at Barcelona “didn’t work out” the way he had hoped after he completed a loan move to Bayern Munich on Monday.
Coutinho joined Barca from Liverpool in January 2018 in a deal potentially worth a reported €160 million (£147m/$178m) and things began promisingly, as he scored eight goals in his first 18 La Liga games.
However, he struggled for consistency and failed to hold down a spot in the starting XI last season, playing only 22 matches from the beginning.
Coutinho became a scapegoat for fans and came in for increased criticism – as did coach Ernesto Valverde and team-mate Ivan Rakitic – after Barca’s Champions League semi-final exit to Liverpool, despite them winning the first leg 3-0.
The Brazil international had been suggested as a potential makeweight in a deal to take Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain back to Camp Nou, but Bayern secured his loan signing with a €120m (£110m/$133m) purchase option.
Coutinho acknowledges things could have gone better in La Liga but insists he is excited to be joining the German champions.
“Concerning Barcelona, things didn’t work out the way we wanted,” Coutinho told reporters at his Bayern presentation.
“But that’s the past. This is a new club, a big club, an important club. I hope I’ll be here for a long time and win lots of titles.”
Despite the difficulties Coutinho had at Barca, he is adamant it was not all a negative experience – though he had no doubts about leaving for Bayern.
“Within those years I did have great experiences,” he said.
“I learnt a lot, won a lot with that club and then we had the Copa America, which I won with Brazil and that was really important.
“Now I have a chance at a new club, a big club. I didn’t have any doubts when Hasan [Salihamidzic, Bayern sporting director] called me.
“He really wanted me to come here, so they flew to Barcelona, we met, they showed me the project and that’s why I really want to thank them, because from the first second [it was clear] how they see me. That was important for me to see.”
Coutinho could make his debut away to Schalke on Saturday.