Philippe Coutinho interview: Winning trophies with Barcelona is my only motivation

The Brazilian has spoken to SPORT about life at Camp Nou

He says he's happy to player wherever and desperate for success

Coutinho dijo sí en cuanto supo el interés del Barcelona | Maite Jiménez

Javier Giraldo

Philippe Coutinho has arrived at Barcelona to create history. He wants to follow in the footsteps of other Brazilians who have played for the club, like Romario, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Neymar... And he spoke to SPORT

When did you realise there was real interest from Barça?

It was talked about for a while, but it was only last summer when there was a concrete offer and they spoke with us. Before there were talks, my agent had some contact with the club, but there was nothing concrete. 

When did your agent tell you? When did you tell him 'forget everything else and get me to Barça'? 

As soon as I knew Barça wanted me, I told him I wanted to come here. I was very clear from the first moment. 

And when did you tell Neymar you weren't going to Paris Saint-Germain with him?

[Laughs] the truth is we haven't spoken much. He made his decision and I had the chance to come here. When the opportunity came up, I didn't think twice, I was always certain because it was my dream to come to this club. I want to earn my place here, win trophies and be happy at Barça.

Messi and Suarez have welcomed you... you even drive to games in the same car.

Everyone's welcomes me. Not just me, also Yerry Mina and Paulinho when they arrived. The dressing room is great and that is important because it makes a great team on and off the pitch. 

You seem to have a special connection with Suarez. When was that born? 

We were at Liverpool together and when I signed for them he helped me a lot. Other players, too, above all those that spoke Spanish and Portuguese -- they're similar languages. We were always together and a great friendship came from that. 

Where's your best position?

Where I play depends on the manager, how he wants the team to play and what's needed in each game. What I have to do is prepare to play well and learn how the team plays. Every day I'm adapting to the team's needs better and what I want is to be ready when I am on the pitch. 

You won the cup in Italy in 2011 but nothing since. Do you feel winning a trophy is something you need to do? 

It's something which motivates me every day, it's what inspires me in work. The most adequate word would be motivation, trophies are what excite me. At this club I have the chance to win trophies and I want to win a lot of things. 

Liverpool play a different style, in a different league... is it easy or difficult to play for Barça? 

To play alongside so many great players is much better. Each team has their way of playing and I am still learning how to play here, every day doing the best I possibly can. 

From Klopp to Valverde, they seem like opposites?

Well, they are different. Each one has their own ways and their own experiences. 

What's surprised you most about Barcelona? 

That's a difficult question... All the players are really good, I see that every day, in training, in games. You see them and you think 'that is incredible' but it's not something which has surprised me because when I came I knew that. What's helped me a lot is the welcome I've received in the dressing room: everyone is very calm. 

Neymar left Barça in search of the Ballon d'Or, is that a motivation for you? 

It's something all players want to win if they can, but I am thinking more about winning trophies, that's what motivates me. The other stuff is a consequence of that, if you have a good season and win trophies. But what I'm motivated by now is winning with Barça. 

What do you think about Madrid-PSG in the Champions League?

They will be great games. 

Is it true you had a trial with Madrid? 

Me? At Madrid? No, no. 

Were they not interested in you when you were young? 

I don't know. It was in the press... I was very young and at 16 I had an offer from Inter. That's what happened, I signed for Inter. 

Like Marcelo's said, do you think Neymar will end up at Madrid? 

I don't know and I have not spoken with him about that. It's something he has to think about. I only think about Barcelona. 

Do you still pray before games? 

Yes, always. But not just before going on to the pitch, but every day. I believe in God and I always thank when when I can. 


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