Philippe Coutinho joins likes of Ronaldinho in long list of Barcelona's brilliant Brazilians

Niall McCague 6/01/2018

Barcelona appear to have finally succeeded in their long pursuit of Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho.

Reports in both Spain and the UK suggest a British record fee of £142 million – with £105 m up front – has been agreed for the Brazil international.

That would be a considerable increase on the £118 m which the Catalan club offered and had rejected in August when they made their third unsuccessful bid of the summer.

The 25-year-old, who has not played since the transfer window opened because of a thigh problem, did not travel with the squad for their warm weather training camp in Dubai.

It is now claimed he is travelling to Spain on Saturday night ahead of his presentation on Sunday.

He’ll join a host of Brazilian legends to have sported the Blaugrana jersey over the years.

Here’s a look at ten of the best.

RONALDINHO (2003-2008)

Ronaldinho joined Barcelona in 2003 after the club finished sixth in La Liga – and just nine points from the bottom half of the table.

But, the Brazilian ace transformed the side with his sparkling skills, guiding Barcelona to two La Liga titles and one Champions League triumph.

He was also crowned Ballon d’Or winner in 2005.

He moved to Milan in 2008 after scoring 70 games in 145 games for the Catalan giants.

Ronaldinho

Ronaldinho

RONALDO (1996-1997)

At his peak he was close to unstoppable.

The ace marksman moved to Barcelona in 1996 from PSV – for a then world-record transfer fee of £19.5 million.

During his sole season in Catalonia, he netted 47 goals in 49 appearances in all competitions to win both the La Liga top scorer and European Golden Shoe awards.

At the end of 1996, he became the youngest player to win the FIFA World Player of the Year award.

Ronaldo

Ronaldo

ROMARIO (1993-1995)

Romario was a mainstay in Johan Cruyff’s ‘Dream Team’, which featured legends such as Pep Guardiola, Michael Laudrup and Ronald Koeman.

During their La Liga triumph in 1993-1994, Romario finished as top scorer with 30 goals in 33 games.

He was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1994.

Romario

Romario

NEYMAR (2013-2017)

Another player that needs no introduction.

The Brazilian was a vital cog in the lethal MSN front three alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez as the trio dominated Spanish football.

He recently signed a long-term contract at PSG – after the French giants met his mega release clause of €222 million.

Neymar

Neymar

DANI ALVES (2008-2016)

The full-back was a talismanic presence during his eight seasons at Barcelona, winning six La Liga titles and two Champions League crowns.

Such was his dominance as a defender, he was included in the FIFPRO World XI on six occasions.

At the time of his departure to PSG, he was second on Barca’s all-time appearance list behind Lionel Messi with 414 outings.

Dani Alves

Dani Alves

RIVALDO (1997-2002)

Finished his first two seasons at the club as second-highest goal scorer as Barcelona clinched back-to-back La Liga titles.

Rivaldo scored a sensational 136 goals in 253 appearances during his five seasons at the Blaugrana.

He was rewarded for his clinical finishing with the Ballon d’Or in 1999.

Rivaldo

Rivaldo

SYLVINHO (2004-2009)

Signed from Celta Vigo in 2004 and went on to win three La Liga titles, as well as two Champions Leagues in 2006 and 2009.

He played the full match in Barcelona’s 2-0 win over Manchester United in the 2009 Champions League final, ahead of the suspended Eric Abidal.

Sylvinho

Sylvinho

EDMILSON (2004-2008)

Played a key role during the 2005-2006 season under Frank Rijkaard, winning La Liga and Champions League trophies.

After a poor final season at the club, Edmilson’s contract was not renewed and he signed for Villarreal.

Edmilson

Edmilson

MAXWELL (2009-2012)

The Brazilian moved from Inter on a five-year deal in 2009 – and played an integral role in the club’s league triumph when Abidal was injured.

He struggled to establish himself as a first-team player and left for PSG after three seasons, winning nine pieces of silverware.

Maxwell

Maxwell

THIAGO MOTTA (2001-2007)

Signed for Barcelona as a 17-year-old and played six seasons at the club.

Despite winning two La Liga titles and a Champions League, Motta was curtailed by injuries during a large part of his time at the club.

He left for PSG in 2007  – where he continues to line out as a solid midfielder – at the tender age of 34.

Thiago Motta

Thiago Motta

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Jesse Lingard stunner propels Man United to FA Cup win over Derby

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Jesse Lingard’s latest scintillating strike and substitute Romelu Lukaku’s late effort secured Manchester United a 2-0 victory over Derby in the third round of the FA Cup.

United had lost just one of their previous 35 FA Cup games against lower-league sides but were heading for a replay until one-time Rams loanee Lingard, with his eighth goal in 10 games, smashed home a swerving volley, with Lukaku then adding a second having broken from the halfway line.

Derby were encouraged by a couple of runs from former United youngster Tom Lawrence, while Marcus Olsson forced Sergio Romero to tip his header over the crossbar, with Alex Pearce heading the resulting corner into the Stretford End.

That was a good opening but nothing like the one Rashford spurned 10 minutes before the break.

For once Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s delivery was perfect and an unmarked Rashford glanced a header onto a post from six yards out.

It was the type of miss which epitomised why Mourinho is reluctant to consider him as a central-striking alternative to Lukaku, whose arrival for the disappointing Mkhitaryan would soon come.

Before the interval there was still time for Rams stopper Scott Carson to make two saves, one a routine stop from another Rashford header and the other a more aesthetically pleasing palm over the top from a Pogba free-kick destined for the top corner.

Half-time substitute Lukaku’s first significant act was to close down Tom Huddlestone as the midfielder struck an effort that flew wide via an unsuspecting Luke Shaw.

Rashford’s confidence, like Mkhitaryan’s, looked shot and a free-kick that failed to get beyond a one-man wall was proof of that.

After Pogba had placed an attempt just wide, Rashford was once again denied by the woodwork.

Martial’s introduction had seen Rashford shift to the right and the England international collected a pass from Lingard and unleashed a well-struck attempt that beat Carson but came back off the base of a post.

Yet Lingard would finally break the visitors’ resistance, collecting a lay-off from Lukaku, teeing himself up and dispatching a swerving attempt into the corner of the net.

His 11th of the season was every bit as special as the efforts against Watford, Burnley and Everton.

Lukaku got in the act in the 90th minute, controlling Pogba’s long clearance on his chest in midfield before playing a one-two with Martial and beating Carson with a powerful strike to wrap it up.

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Analysis of Yannick Bolasie's display during Everton's 2-1 defeat to Liverpool

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Virgil van Dijk scored a dramatic late winner on his debut as Liverpool clinched a 2-1 victory over Everton in a heated Merseyside derby FA Cup tie at Anfield.

Liverpool had led 1-0 at the break after James Milner converted from the penalty spot but Everton looked to have secured a replay when Gylfi Sigurdsson equalised midway through the second half.

Here, we focus on Yannick Bolaise’s performance.

BASIC STATS

Minutes – 90

Goals – 0

Assists – 0

Shots – 0

Dribbles – 4

Passes – 26

Key passes – 0

Pass Accuracy – 69.2%

Touches – 50

EFFECTIVENESS

One of the key influences in the Everton attack, Bolaise was the only player to provide the Toffees with some attacking spark in the first half.

The 28-year-old’s battle with Andrew Robertson was one of the most intriguing in a dour opening 45 minutes – with the Congo international coming out on top with his direct runs, strong pace and clinical decision making.

Although his teammates were unable to breach the Reds defence in the opening period, Bolasie was at the heart of the equaliser after the break as he skipped down the left, slipped a ball across to Phil Jagielka who fed Gylfi Sigurdsson to score.

The attacker does need to work on his fitness – as he was gassed out after his contribution to the goal – which resulted in Robertson gaining the upper hand in their battle.

KEY MOMENTS

5th min: Collects possession down the right and races into the Liverpool penalty area. He initially gets past Virgil van Dijk but the ball runs ahead of him and out for a goal-kick.

11th min: Bolasie heads the ball into the path of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and quickly takes the ball back. With space in front of him, the 28-year-old attempts to cross the ball into the box but it’s saved by Loris Karius.

67th min: Skips down the left and sends a glorious pass across to Jagielka. The defender turns back and passes to Sigurdsson, who side-foots the ball into the bottom right corner of the net from outside the box.

OUR VERDICT

He didn’t receive great service in the first half but showed signs of his class whenever he got the ball at his feet.

Overall, good signs from the Congo international who looks a sterling presence in the Toffees attack – possessing pace, skill and a strong eye for taking the right option.

8/10

All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com

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