"Dude, you are very good, you have to play like the day of Sevilla! Come on!". Until the Estopa brothers approached Coutinho on Thursday during the party celebrating the show that Cirque du Soleil has mounted on Messi. David and José Manuel encouraged the Brazilian player as much as Messi himself or Luis Suarez. There were words and songs in favor of Coutinho. "I know!", Responded shyly on 7 Barça. The performance of the Brazilian, however, returned to decay two days later against Valencia.
The regression of the undefined Coutinho, more striker than midfielder despite being hired as substitute for Iniesta, has been manifest with respect to last season, when he claimed with a play of his own, a diagonal from the outside in from the left side that finished with a shot of thread before stepping on the area (10 goals in 22 games). The Brazilian's productivity has decreased (8 goals in 30 matches) and his influence in the team is limited since in November he suffered a tear in the femoral biceps in Milan.
That injury truncated a very good start while increasing the prominence of Dembélé and Luis Suarez, the team leader during the five games that missed Messi. Valverde, however, maintains his confidence in Coutinho. "Right or wrong, what I like about him is that he always dares, faces the rival, tries. It will materialize the chances it has, "said the coach after the game in Girona.
Barca has not issued any medical statement about Messi's injury after Catalunya Radio will report after Saturday's game against Valencia who suffered a muscle contracture. The Argentine exercised in the gym and this Tuesday will know if he is called for the match against Madrid. It is also not known if Dembélé will be able to participate, absent from the game against Leganés. The Frenchman, afflicted by a flu-like process, recovers from a sprained left ankle and trains alone.
"Coutinho is a player who breaks you in a tile. He has dribble, he is daring ", they comment in the dressing room of the Camp Nou. "You should see him in training; his shots are almost always goal. He needs to get things out again, his real football, because it's very good and we can not afford not to have it. " The Brazilian's teammates do not see him "overwhelmed or bad, but worried about not being at his level, although in recent games he looks more confident," they insist. "Everyone in the club has told him how important it is for us. The truth is that we have no doubt that when we need it will be ready ", close their defenders at Barça.
The team needs more than ever for tomorrow against Madrid. There are serious doubts about the participation of Messi and Dembélé, both injured, and Luis Suárez accumulates many minutes, holder against Girona, Sevilla and Valencia. Author of two goals against Sevilla -Messi gave him the penalty kick that was the 1-0-, in addition to transforming the maximum penalty that gave life to the Barca team in Levante field, Coutinho has found in the Cup a tournament in which to claim after his irregularity in LaLiga.
"If you pay 160 million for a player" -the most expensive signing of Barça- "it's because it's important", they defend from the club. "Because of his way of being, he needs the wind to blow a little in his favor. Maybe he started thinking too much when he saw Dembélé's hatching, "they add. "You need to feel important, so you have to give him confidence and act naturally as Valverde does now." The coach tries to recover the Brazilian with a love that expresses itself in two ways: he keeps him as a starter and tries not to point him out with the changes, something that he does not always achieve – he was substituted again against Valencia. "Futbolistically he always interacted well with Messi and Luis Suárez," they conclude at Barcelona.
Unlike the Uruguayan and the Argentine, it happens that the Brazilian hardly puts the team on his back, and tomorrow's game will demand the best version of the 7: it seems Coutinho's classic.