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How did Philippe Coutinho get on in his debut for Barcelona?

Barcelona fans loved what they saw from their new record signing

And so it begins.

Philippe Coutinho made his official Barcelona debut last night.

The Brazilian midfielder came on as a 68th minute substitute for Andres Iniesta — we’ll let you process the symbolism there.

Master and apprentice

AFP
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Master and apprentice

His 25 minute cameo against local rivals Espanyol in the Copa del Rey quarter-final second leg impressed Barca fans everywhere with one going as far to describe it as ‘one of the greatest non-scoring debuts in history’.

That’s probably a slight exaggeration but Coutinho did look supremely comfortable on the Nou camp pitch and exhibited a willingness to play the Barca way.

Indulge in his individual highlights here…

His willingness to show for the ball and composure in possession will have pleased the Barca chiefs who paid Liverpool £142million for his services earlier this month.

Many fans thought he would be given the No7 shirt following Arda Turan’s departure to Istanbul Basaksehir on loan.

However the 25-year-old has been given the No14 shirt, previously worn by Javier Mascherano.

The 33-year-old Argentine was given a guard of honour by his team-mates before kick-off, having recently signed for Chinese Super League side Hebei China Fortune.

That shirt suits him, doesn’t it?

AFP
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That shirt suits him, doesn’t it?

Coutinho told Barcelona’s website: “It’s a special night and we’ve managed to win the game, which is the most important thing.”

Barca beat Espanyol 2-0 on the night, overturning a 1-0 deficit from the first leg to progress to the semi-finals.

Luis Suarez opened the scoring inside ten minutes with a simple header before Lionel Messi doubled lead in the 25th minute with a deflected shot from just outside the box.

The second goal was Barcelona’s 4000th goal at the Nou Camp — Messi has scored or assisted 10% of them.


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