There is a reason we singled out Philippe Coutinho for mention as Bayern Munich won 2020 UEFA Champions League title yesterday.
Coutinho arrived Liverpool in January 2013 from Inter Milan. He would soon become a fan’s favourite and a core part of Jurgen Klopp’s resurgent Liverpool team, Klopp himself arriving Liverpool in 2015. Just as Liverpool would be re-establishing themselves among the European powerhouses, Barcelona came for Coutinho. This Barca approach appeared too tempting for Coutinho and despite the resistance from Klopp and Liverpool, the former Liverpool number 10 left Nou Camp in January 2018. Prior to this transfer, Liverpool had rejected Barca’s approach for Continho in August 2017 with Klopp declaring that he was not for sale. In May 2018, Liverpool qualified for UCL final but lost 3-1 to Real Madrid. Before that very final, words started coming out suggesting that Coutinho’s “impatience” has costed him an appearance at the UCL final game. Liverpool will go on to win the UCL trophy the next year in 2019 (June) after beating Tottenham 2-0. Coutinho was again hit hard for having missed the opportunity to lift the UCL trophy with Liverpool especially as his sojourn to Barcelona was not particularly rosy. Coutinho responded that he was happy for Liverpool but do not regret his transfer to Barcelona. Having failed to command a regular spot in the Barca team, he was shipped out on loan to Bayern Munich in August 2019. As fate would have it, despite his bit part role at Bayern Munich, the team progressed through the stages of the UCL and gave Coutinho the opportunity to face his parent club, Barcelona, in the quarter final where he scored two goals and set up one. To crown it up, Coutinho made a substitute appearance at yesterday’s UCL final in Lisbon, Portugal and finally lifted that elusive UCL trophy after Bayern Munich beat PSG 1-0. Since leaving Liverpool in 2018, Coutinho won two La Liga titles and Copa del Rey with Barcelona. He also won the Budesliga, German Cup and UEFA Champions League this season on loan to Bayern Munich. Where is he headed next? We shall see but in the meantime, it is congratulations to Philippe Coutinho from all of us at Naija Sports Crib.