Philippe Coutinho could now lose his Brazil place amid Barcelona struggles

FBL-ESP-CUP-BARCELONA-REAL MADRID

To say Philippe Coutinho and Vinicius Junior have experienced mixed fortunes this season would be an understatement.

Coutinho is suffering form a heavy bout of second-season-syndrome at Barcelona and has fallen out of favour with Ousmane Dembele stealing his place in the starting XI.

Meanwhile, Vinicius is making headlines at Real Madrid with a series of remarkable performances at the age of 18, establishing himself as one of the biggest talents in world football.

Despite one outperforming the other, however, the pair have been both been included in the latest Brazil squad.

Coutinho has become something of a regular in the team under Tite, while Vinicius has been called up to the senior side for the very first time.

Latest Brazil squad selection

Friendlies with Panama and the Czech Republic will no doubt present plenty of opportunities for rotation, but will also allow Tite to plan his strongest team for the upcoming Copa America.

And it's starting to seem like Coutinho - despite being a staple in the Brazil side - could lose his place, such is the magnitude of his poor form and its contrast against players like Vinicius.

That's certainly a sentiment picked up by Spanish publication AS, who fear for Coutinho's immediate future in the Brazil fold.

Ajax v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg

Vinicius 'now threatens' Coutinho

Their article reads: "At first glance his [Coutinho] place in the Brazil starting XI still seems assured for now, but the reality is his spot is under threat both at ‘home’ and from further afield.

"The arrival of Arthur is putting his place as a midfielder in danger, while further forward Willian and now Real Madrid’s Vinicius are lining up to take his place.

"With the Copa América on the horizon, Coutinho continues to seek out the form that’s abandoned him this season.

"The 4-3-3 which in principle should favour him and give him the possibility of playing in either position hasn’t benefited him. Diffident and unassertive, he’s yet to start really playing.

"He’s lost his place in the Barcelona side to Dembélé and needs to produce some decent football to maintain his status with the Brazilian side.

"The two Clásicos are a perfect opportunity to show why Barcelona spent so much money on him."

FC Barcelona v Valencia CF - La Liga

It just keeps getting worse and worse for Coutinho.

The newspaper reiterates that the 26-year-old could be losing his place in the Brazil team now, just to add to his Barcelona woes, and to a teenager from his club's biggest rival at that.

Only time will tell what decision Tite will make, but his loyalty to Coutinho could be tested to the limits.

Who do you think Brazil should start - Vinicius or Coutinho? Have your say in the comments section below.

News Now - Sport News