X

Philippe Coutinho Explains Barcelona Exit After Securing Bayern Munich Loan

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2019

MUNICH, GERMANY - AUGUST 19: Philippe Coutinho of FC Bayern Muenchen controls the ball during the FC Bayern Muenchen Unveils New Signing Philippe Coutinho on August 19, 2019 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Philippe Coutinho is ready to accept the "big responsibility" of playing for Bayern Munich, even though "things didn't work out" for him at Barcelona.

Coutinho sealed a deal to join Bayern Munich on a season-long loan with an option to buy on Monday, per Barca's official website. The Brazilian didn't have the easiest time at the Camp Nou but admitted his career with the Blaugrana was an education.

He went into greater detail when he was officially presented as a new Bayern player, per BBC Sport: "In Barcelona, a lot of things did not turn out as we had imagined. But this is now history. I hope to stay here a long time and win many titles."

A reflection of Bayern's faith in Coutinho's ability to return to his best form comes from the Bundesliga giants' decision to hand him the No. 10 shirt. It previously belonged to Arjen Robben, the prolific winger who left the Allianz Arena this summer after a trophy-laden 10-year spell.

Coutinho is aware of the onus that taking Robben's number puts on him to make a fast start to his tenure in Munich: "The jersey of FC Bayern and the No. 10 is a big responsibility. It belonged to Robben, he was a great reference in football. I hope to be able to live up to expectations with good football on the pitch."

Meeting the same standards Robben set will require Coutinho regaining the swagger he lost during a difficult stint with Barca. The Brazil international joined the club from Liverpool in 2018 with a reputation as one of the most dynamic playmakers in Europe:

Match of the Day @BBCMOTD

Bayern Munich fans will be hoping to see more of this from Philippe Coutinho 💥 https://t.co/3IVVAsJUFq

His form deteriorated while he struggled to establish himself in a Barcelona squad geared to the talents of Lionel Messi and experiencing something of a stylistic shift on Ernesto Valverde's watch.

Coutinho may have arrived at Barca just a few years too late. His flair and vision are better suited to the technical, possession-based game the Blaugrana played under Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique.

Things have been a little cagier and involve more direct passing with Valverde at the helm. It meant Coutinho often appeared out of sorts in an otherwise-muscular midfield featuring Arturo Vidal and Ivan Rakitic.

Even so, Coutinho was keen to point out how his experiences with Barca weren't all bad, per Perform (h/t AS): "Within those years I did have great experiences. 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."

UEFA Champions League @ChampionsLeague

🇧🇷 More of this from Philippe Coutinho 🔜❓ #UCL | @Phil_Coutinho https://t.co/Qxjm2kKpss https://t.co/Tt1IWOWmbx

Joining Bayern is an ideal fit for Coutinho, who will continue to ply his trade for a European heavyweight with genuine aspirations of winning the UEFA Champions League. The 27-year-old is also the right player to provide the creativity and magic from central areas that Die Roten have lost now James Rodriguez has returned to Real Madrid following a two-year loan spell in the German top flight.

Playing with Corentin Tolisso and Leon Goretzka will give Coutinho the freedom to roam into and exploit the pockets of space between the midfield and forward lines. Meanwhile, Thiago Alcantara is a technical maestro on a similar wavelength to Coutinho, and the pair can keep the supply lines open to Robben and Franck Ribery's successors on the flanks: Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry.