Aston Villa: Who is Philippe Coutinho?

Coutinho has played for some of the biggest clubs in world football during his career

<p>Philippe Coutinho of Brazil looks on during a training session ahead of FIFA Qatar 2022 Qualifiers match against Colombia on November 10, 2021</p>

Philippe Coutinho of Brazil looks on during a training session ahead of FIFA Qatar 2022 Qualifiers match against Colombia on November 10, 2021

Aston Villa made their first move of the January transfer window on Friday (7 January) - and what a move it was, bringing in Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barcelona.

The deal sees Coutinho move to Villa Park initially for the remainder of the 2021/22 campaign, but the club have confirmed that there is an option to buy upon the expiry of his loan.

Sign up to our BirminghamWorld Today newsletter

Coutinho’s arrival to Villa Park is a huge statement from the club, and a clear indication of the puling power Steven Gerrard holds.

But who exactly is Villa’s new star man?

here’s all you need to know about the skillful Brazilian.

Philippe Coutinho was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

He was raised in the city’s Rocha district between an old shanty town and industrial warehouses.

Coutinho starting playing football after watching his older brothers Cristiano and Leandro play the game with their friends at a young age.

It became obvious during his childhood that the youngster had a clear footballing talent, and after joining a local academy, his father José, an architect, was approached by coaches at local club Vasco da Gama, where he joined the youth academy.

Early football career

Coutinho has gone on to establish himself as a world class number 10.

The playmaker has been used as an attacking midfielder, second striker, and central midfielder during his career, which began in his home town.

After joining Vasco da Gama’s youth system, Coutinho’s quickly rose through the ranks and his impressive performances caught the eyes of some of Europe’s top clubs.

At the age of 16, he joined Italian giants Inter Milan in 2008, but remained on loan at Vasco for two years.

In 2009, he made 12 league appearances as Vasco won the Série B title and achieved promotion to the top division.

He started playing for Inter in 2010 under Rafael Benitez, where he helped the club reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

After a short loan spell with Spanish club Espanyol during the 2011-12 season, Coutinho returned to Inter but struggled to establish himself at the San Siro.

Liverpool move and rise to prominence

In 2013, Coutinho joined Liverpool from Inter in a deal worth £8.5 million.

The Brazilian quickly went on to establish himself in the first team at Anfield, becoming a fans’ favourite in the process.

During the 2013-14 season, Coutinho formed an impressive strike force with Reds’ duo Luis Suarez and Daniel Strurridge.

Coutinho made 37 appearances and scored 5 goals in a Liverpool side which finished behind Manchester City in second place.

Over the next few seasons, Coutinho became one of, if not the most important player for Liverpool with his creative ability and knack for incredible long range goals.

At the end of the 2014-15 season, he was shortlisted for the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the PFA Young Player of the Year, ultimately losing to Eden Hazard and Harry Kane.

He was also nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award again in 2016.

Coutinho began to thrive under new Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, and during the 2016-17 season, he helped Liverpool return to the Champions League, and became the leading Brazilian goalscorer in Premier League history after scoring his 30th Premier League goal in a victory against Stoke City.

Coutinho’s impressive form continued into the 2017-18 season where he formed a formidable strike force at Anfield with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

Barcelona and league title wins

Despite the fact that Jurgen Klopp wanted to keep Coutinho at Anfield, the Brazilian chose to join Barcelona in January 2018, in deal worth £142 million.

During his time with the Catalan club, Coutinho won two La Liga titles.

He joined Bayern Munich in 2019 on a season long-loan deal after falling out of favour at the Nou Camp.

Coutinho played a role in the German club’s route to the Champions League final and he finished the season winning the Bundesliga, FB-Pokal and the European cup.

Coutinho returned to Barcelona for the 2020-21 season, but suffered a bad knee injury in December which ruled him out of the remainder of the campaign.

Coutinho has also been a key player for his national side over the years, representing Brazil in the 2018 World Cup in Russia and at numerous Copa America tournaments.

Family life

Coutinho married his childhood sweatheart Ainê in the summer of 2012.

The couple grew up together in Rio and they have three children together, two daughters and one son.

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading. BirminghamWorld is Birmingham’s latest news website, championing everything that is great about our city - reporting on news, lifestyle and sport. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.