Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho reveals that his much-publicised struggles at Barca have left “a scar”, but the Brazilian claims to be “stronger” for those experiences after ending his latest 11-month goal drought for the club.

Big things were expected of the South American when he completed a move to Camp Nou from Liverpool during the January transfer window of 2018.

A dream switch quickly became a nightmare, though, with the 29-year-old playmaker currently working his way back to full fitness from a long-term knee injury that forced him under the knife.

Coutinho told BarcaTV after finding the target in a 3-1 win over Valencia – his first goal for the club since November 29, 2020: “We all know what I have suffered but I feel good.

“After so long, scoring a goal is a very good feeling. Besides, the team has won.

“I have more desire than ever after going through everything I went through. It has been difficult and hard. Now it’s just a scar that makes me stronger. I want to succeed and be the best Philippe I can be.”

He added: “I really wanted to score a goal. I have spent a few months away and I am happy with the work I have done.

“It is only the beginning. I am very happy for the victory, we deserved it.”

Coutinho’s 85th-minute strike against Valencia was his 25th goal for Barcelona through 97 appearances.

It remains to be seen how many more efforts there will be, with questions continuing to be asked of his future.

Barca were keen to get Coutinho off their wage bill during the summer window, but no suitor could be found for a man that took in a season-long loan spell at German giants Bayern Munich in 2019-20.

The Brazil international remains tied to terms through to 2023, but still has much to prove if he is to see that agreement out – especially now that Lionel Messi has departed Camp Nou and the Blaugrana are crying out for creative inspiration from alternative sources.

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