Philippe Coutinho played for the last time on December 29, 2020. In the 16th round of the Spanish Championship 2020/2021, he left the field against Eibar with a limp, helped by doctors from Barcelona. A few days later, he was diagnosed with a lesion in the external meniscus of his left knee requiring surgery and began a nine-month process away from football in treatment.
Calvary is over. Today (29), under the anxious eyes of the technical committee of the Brazilian team, who misses a player in his position and with the responsibility of helping Barça after Messi’s departure, Coutinho will be coach Ronald Koeman’s option in the match against Getafe , at 12:00 (GMT), in Camp Nou. The game is worth the third round of the current La Liga season.
Coutinho’s recovery process was fraught with uncertainty. He underwent two surgeries in Spain, follow-up in Qatar and another operation in Brazil, when a knee cyst was diagnosed and removed. These three interventions took place in a period of just four months, which made his careful recovery under the responsibility of Rodrigo Lasmar, physician at Atlético-MG and the national team.
The midfielder came back very slowly, performed the first stage of transition to the field in Rio de Janeiro and only then embarked for the pre-season in Spain, in July. There was a great possibility that it would be loaned again to another club for this career resumption, but the recovery progressed and Koeman decided to take advantage of it. Today there is even a chance for him to inherit Messi’s No. 10 shirt.
While Barcelona dreams that, finally, the midfielder will correspond to the investment of 160 million euros (R$ 620 million, at the price of the time) made in January 2018, the selection looks at Spanish football with attention and expectation. Coutinho is the third player called up by Tite in five years of work, tied with Roberto Firmino and behind Marquinhos and Casemiro.
In 35 games since the World Cup in Russia, he is the fourth player in goals scored, with seven, and eighth in assists, with two. All this even with long periods such as embezzlement due to injury. His importance to the national team is so great that there is a feeling that no one took advantage of the gap created in these nine months. In the last ten games, Everton Ribeiro and Lucas Paquetá, as well as improvised Roberto Firmino and Neymar, took turns in the role normally occupied by Coutinho.
There has been, since the final stretch of the Copa America, a tendency for Lucas Paquetá to establish himself as a starter in the sector, but the hope is that Philippe Coutinho will be a worthy shadow. This can start from today.
Coutinho vents on video
Yesterday (28), the player posted a ten-minute long video called “Stronger Than Before” on his YouTube channel that tells his entire recovery process with behind-the-scenes footage and exclusive testimonials.
“I couldn’t imagine myself playing again, it was difficult to have that image in my head of Philippe on the field, but today, thank God, the recovery has evolved every day. A while ago, who saw me on a crutch or with the straight leg didn’t imagine me running and exercising, so now I imagine myself playing, making plays and goals and what my passion is, which is playing football.”