A dream come true - Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho completed his record-breaking move to Barcelona yesterday and thanked the club for its patience after the disappointment of failed negotiations with Liverpool last year.
Liverpool rejected repeated bids in August but finally gave into Coutinho's demands to leave after sealing a transfer deal worth up to €160 million (US$192 million), making the Brazilian playmaker Barcelona's costliest ever signing.
"I just want to thank the club for its patience and its effort," Coutinho said. "I'm very happy, this is a dream come true for me and I hope to live up to the expectations."
Coutinho was introduced to the fans at Camp Nou after signing his contract, but his debut will be delayed by about three weeks because of a right leg muscle injury confirmed during the medical he underwent after arriving from England.
The 25-year-old Coutinho missed both of Liverpool's games last week because of the injury which coincided with the transfer being finalised quickly at the start of the January transfer window.
Coutinho won't be allowed to play for Barcelona in the Champions League knockout phase because he has already featured for Liverpool in the competition this season.
"I'll have plenty of time to help the club in the future," he said after signing a five-and-a-half year contract. "Sometimes you don't get another opportunity like this, to join Barcelona, so I didn't think twice."
But Liverpool wasn't such a willing seller.
"They understood that it was what I wanted," Coutinho said. "They did all they could to try to keep me, but in the end they understood that it was my dream, and the dream of my family, to come here."