Footballing legend Ronaldinho has offered an opinion many Liverpool fans will hope will be ignored, claiming that Philippe Coutinho would be a perfect fit for Barcelona.
The young Brazilian might not yet be in the same stratosphere as he elder compatriot but he’s certainly been impressing over the past two seasons under Brendan Rodgers.
This year he contributed five goals and five assists during the course of 34 Premier League appearances for the Reds, and his overall performance level was well above average.
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In order to reflect this he was voted the club’s player of the season and also made it into the PFA Team of the Year, being the only Liverpool player to do so. As a result, and possibly due to the fact Liverpool won’t be appearing in the Champions League next year, transfer gossip is sure to arrive at Coutinho’s door, with Ronaldinho somewhat leading the charge.
"He has had a fantastic season - he has been one of the best midfield players in Europe - and when you think he has been playing in a team that has not been performing well that is an even bigger achievement," Ronaldinho said, as per the Daily Mail.
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"I can't speak for him and I can't speak for Barcelona - but I know what Barcelona look for in a player and he has all those qualities.
"After all those years at the club Xavi has left and Iniestia is now in his 30's - they will need to address that. That is why I think Barcelona and Coutinho would be the perfect fit.
"Playing with great players makes you better, I know that. Not only would he win trophies with Barcelona, but playing with Neymar, Messi, Suarez, Iniesta, is going to make him a better player."
Heir to the throne?
With the iconic Xavi finally departing Barca this summer Ronaldinho’s claims might not be all that far-fetched. The Catalan giants have talented midfielders in abundance, that can’t be disputed, but all the same they’ll want to ensure a player who will leave the legacy Xavi will is replaced by a natural heir.
The young Coutinho could well be that man given how effortlessly he’s coordinated forages in the final third for Liverpool under Rodgers.
Not only did the Brazilian enjoy a great relationship with Luis Suarez, who of course has become the scourge of La Liga with Barcelona since his move to the Nou Camp last summer, but it could be said that he’s still developing, meaning we’ve yet to see his best.
Listening to the maestro
On top of that there’s few better to listen to when discussing Barcelona suitability than Ronaldinho, who shot to superstardom after moving there himself back in 2003.
The samba king spent five glittering years in Catalonia before leaving for AC Milan in 2008, but he’s remembered as one of Barca’s greatest ever players and knows better than most what it takes to cut the mustard with the Blaugrana.
Naturally with the future of Raheem Sterling currently up in the air, and Steven Gerrard destined for LA Galaxy, Rodgers will want to guard against any other midfielder leaving in any case. That’s particularly key when it comes to Coutinho who, as already discussed, is a key Anfield asset.
Liverpool fans, would Rodgers ever consider Coutinho? Can you really stave off the advances of Barcelona? Let us know in the comments box below.