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After loss of Neymar to PSG, Barca signs Coutinho
Brazilian Philippe Coutinho officially joined Barcelona Monday, signing a five-year contract in a ceremony with Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu. Coutinho seen as a promising replacement for Neymar, who moved to PSG in October.
Barcelona paid a reported 160 million euros for the 25-year-old, the third biggest transfer in football history, after PSG paid 222 million for Neymar in October, and 180 million for French striker Kylian Mbappe in August.
Coutinho said joining Barca, alongside football legends like Messi, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta.
"It's incredible to know I am going to be with my idols,” he said in a video message posted by the team on Sunday. “I'm very happy to know I will play with them. I hope to learn, have a good time and win titles."
Coutinho will have to wait until at least the end of January to play with them, though: after a medical visit on Monday, the team said he will be off the field for at least 20 days because of a thigh injury.
Liverpool, meanwhile, will be smarting from its loss. Coutinho scored seven goals in the last eight games of 2017, putting the team in a good position in the Champions League.
But the team is already looking to invest the money from the sale, paying Southampton 85 million euros for defender Virgil van Dijk, and looking to get attacker Riyad Mahrez, from Leicester City and Monaco midfielder Thomas Lemar.