Philippe Coutinho Correia is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder or winger for the Brazilian national team. Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Coutinho showed prodigious talent and excelled in Vasco da Gama’s youth system. He was signed by Italian side Internazionale in 2008 for €4 million and subsequently loaned back to Vasco, where he became a key player. He made his debut for Internazionale in 2010 and was seen as the “future of Inter”, but struggled to establish himself in the first team and was loaned to La Liga club Espanyol in 2012. In January 2013, he was signed by Premier League club Liverpool for £8.5 million. He flourished at Anfield; his combination of vision, passing, dribbling and long-range strikes earned him the nickname Little Magician from Liverpool fans and teammates. After he was named in the 2015 PFA Team of the Year, Brazilian legend Pelé tipped Coutinho for a “great future”. Coutinho made his senior debut for Brazil in 2010 at the age of 18. He has since made over 30 appearances and represented the nation at the 2015 Copa América and the Copa América Centenario.
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In August 2017, Liverpool rejected a £72 million bid from Barcelona for Coutinho, prompting the player to submit a transfer request via email. However, two more improved bids from Barcelona were rejected, leading director Albert Soler to claim that Liverpool wanted £183 million which Liverpool denied.On 6 January 2018, Liverpool confirmed that they had reached an agreement with La Liga club Barcelona for the transfer of Coutinho. His transfer fee is reported to be an initial £105 million, which could rise to £142 million with various clauses being met. During his medical, he was diagnosed with a thigh injury sustained a few days before joining Barcelona, ruling him out for three weeks. He made his debut for Barcelona on 25 January 2018, in a 2–0 (agg. 2–1) win against his former club RCD Espanyol in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey, coming on as a 68th minute substitute for captain Andrés Iniesta. Assisted by his former Liverpool FC teammate Luis Suárez, Coutinho scored his first Barcelona goal on 8 February 2018 against Valencia CF in the second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals just four minutes after coming on as a half-time substitute.
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Having made youth appearances for Brazil from the under-14 team upwards, Coutinho became a key player in the Brazilian squad that won the 2009 South American Under-17 Football Championship, scoring three goals. Coutinho made his first senior appearance in a Brazil shirt on 7 October 2010, starting in a friendly match against Iran. He was left out of the final squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil by Luiz Felipe Scolari. On 19 August 2014, Coutinho was called up to the national squad by the new coach Dunga for the friendly matches against Colombia and Ecuador in September, and played the final 25 minutes of the match against Ecuador. On 5 May 2015, Coutinho was included in the squad for the 2015 Copa América, and he scored his first international goal on 7 June, during a 2–0 friendly win over Mexico at Allianz Parque. Coutinho was included in Brazil’s squad for the Copa América Centenario in the United States. On 8 June, in the second group game at the Citrus Bowl, he scored a hat-trick in a 7–1 win against Haiti. Brazil did not advance past the group stage after losing 0–1 to Peru. On 28 March 2017, Coutinho scored in a 3–0 win against Paraguay that ensured Brazil’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification.
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Considered to be an archetypal Brazilian number 10 playmaker, Coutinho has been used as an attacking midfielder, second striker and on the flanks, where he excels at providing assists for teammates. Due to his dribbling ability, pace, and agility, he has been compared to Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho by his former Espanyol manager Mauricio Pochettino who also said “Philippe… he has a special magic in his feet”. Former Brazilian striker Careca has also compared him to Zico, due to his creativity, and he has been highly praised by his Liverpool teammates. His vision and passing ability have earned him the nickname Little Magician by Liverpool fans and his precocious ability has also led his team’s supporters to give him the nickname The Kid. Although naturally right footed, Coutinho is capable of playing with both feet, and can strike the ball well from distance.