Barcelona have handed Philippe Coutinho the number-seven shirt. The number previously belonged to Arda Turan.
Philippe Coutinho has been one of the best newcomers to Barcelona in recent years. The Brazilian had an instant impact since his debut with the Catalans and impressed in his first six months with the club.
Barcelona paid £105 million for the 26 year old’s services to English Premier League giants Liverpool. The fee is subject to increase to £142 million depending upon various clauses being met. In 22 appearances for Barcelona, Coutinho appeared 22 times for Barcelona in the domestic competitions- La Liga and Copa del Rey.
He scored 10 goals and provided 6 assists in the two tournaments, which Barcelona eventually won. Being cup tied prohibited him from featuring for the Catalans in the UEFA Champions League.
Following Andres Iniesta’s departure and Barcelona’s failure to sign any big target, Philippe Coutinho has been widely tipped as the best in-house option to take over the World Cup winner’s reigns. The Brazilian has been provided with a signal of having big responsibility for his club after being given the legendary number 7 jersey.
While Andres Iniesta did not wear the number 7, several of Barcelona’s legends including David Villa and Eidur Gudjohnsen did don the world famous number. Philippe Coutinho initially wanted the number 7 since his signing in January, but the same was reserved for former Atletico Madrid midfielder Arda Turan.
Later, the Catalan giants were said to be saving the famed number for the arrival of France international Antoine Griezmann. Arda Turan’s exit and Griezmann’s commitment to Atletico Madrid has now meant that Philippe Coutinho will now be the owner of the prestigious number 7.
As Coutinho enters his first full season with Barcelona, he will be looking to shrug off competition from Arthur and Malcom to cement his position into the midfield trio next to Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic.
At the same time, he will be hoping to match the records of a player like David Villa who did a great deal for Barca. The Brazilian’s first test will be in Morocco against Sevilla in the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday.