Coutinho joins Bale as most expensive transfers from the Premier League to Spain

Philippe Coutinho finally got his wish on Saturday when Barcelona agreed to sign the Brazilian star from Liverpool for €160 million.

The deal for the 25-year-old attacking midfielder will be the third biggest in football after the €222 million PSG paid Barcelona for Neymar last year and the €120 million that Kylian Mbappe will cost PSG from Monaco once the French player’s loan period with the Ligue 1 champions is completed.

Barcelona had tried to sign him in the summer, but his departure is a blow to Liverpool as the playmaker has just returned to top form after an injury-hit start to the season.

He scored six goals in the last seven games of 2017 to put his side firmly in the Champions League places.

Here, we take a look at the five most expensive deals from Premier League players signing to Spain.

GARETH BALE (TOTTENHAM TO REAL MADRID) – €100 million

Real Madrid broke the world transfer record to sign Tottenham forward Gareth Bale in 2014.

The Wales star agreed a six-year deal after securing a €100 million move which eclipsed the €94 million fee Real paid Man United for Cristiano Ronaldo five years previously in 2009.

Bale was one of five new signings for Real Madrid that summer – and has gone on to make 106 appearances for the Bernabeu outfit, scoring 53 goals.

CRISTIANO RONALDO (MANCHESTER UNITED TO REAL MADRID) – €94 million

The five time Ballon d’Or winner became the most expensive player in the world in 2009 at the tender age of 24.

The Portuguese left Manchester United to sign a six-year-deal deal at Real Madrid for a world record fee of €94 million.

Since joining the Bernabeu outfit, the 32-year-old has won two La Liga titles, three Champions Leagues and three Club World Cup titles.

He has also scored 289 goals in 277 matches.

LUIS SUAREZ (LIVERPOOL TO BARCELONA) – € 82.3 million

The Uruguayan signed for Barcelona on a five-year deal from Liverpool in 2014.

Suarez was in electric form for Liverpool during the 2013/14 season, scoring 31 league goals before putting pen to paper on a € 82.3 million move to the Camp Nou after the World Cup in Brazil.

At Barcelona, the 30-year-old has continued his instrumental form, scoring 95 goals in 111 appearances.

DIEGO COSTA (CHELSEA TO ATLETICO MADRID) – €65 million

The Spaniard completed a move from Chelsea back to Atletico Madrid in September for a fee of €65 million.

Despite the transfer going through back in September, the 29-year-old could not line out for Diego Simeone’s side until last week as the transfer window ban came to an end on January 1.

Costa left Madrid for West London in 2014 and scored a stunning 59 goals in 120 appearances for Antonio Conte’s side.

He also won two Premier League titles at Stamford Bridge before returning to the Wanda Metropolitano.

DAVID BECKHAM (MANCHESTER UNITED TO REAL MADRID) – €37. 5 million

England captain David Beckham agreed a four-year contract with Real Madrid in 2003 for €37. 5 million.

It didn’t take long for the Englishman to get off the mark either, scoring against RCD Mallorca in the second leg of a Spanish Super Cup tie before the start of the La Liga season.

Despite lining up alongside star-studded names like Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, Ronaldo and Raul, Beckham only won two trophies during his four seasons at the Bernabeu: the 2003 Super Cup and the La Liga title in 2006/2007.

He scored 20 goals and provided 33 assists in 155 appearances before signing for LA Galaxy in 2007.

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Chelsea held to goalless draw by Norwich in FA Cup

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Chelsea‘s peripheral players failed to impress in a goalless draw at Carrow Road as Norwich earned an FA Cup third-round replay.

Chelsea struggled against the Canaries, for whom Alex Pritchard, Josh Murphy and James Maddison excelled going forwards.

Given Antonio Conte‘s regular fixture complaints, he would not have wanted a replay, but Championship Norwich frustrated the Blues, who came closest when Willian’s effort was turned round a post by Angus Gunn.

And Chelsea, Premier League champions and FA Cup finalists last season, will now host Daniel Farke’s men at Stamford Bridge in 10 days’ time.

Conte, as promised, rotated his side, with Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg with Arsenal in mind.

Nine changes were made following the midweek Premier League draw at Arsenal as Conte reverted to his cup side.

David Luiz played his second game since October after a rumoured fallout with Conte and a subsequent knee injury.

The Brazil defender is not the only person to get on the wrong side of Conte this season, with the Italian’s feud with Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho escalating on Friday.

Conte says he is “ready to fight…with everyone”. And he was as animated as ever in his technical area, despite the “clown” comment from Mourinho which the United boss had insisted was self-deprecating, rather than aimed at the Italian.

Norwich troubled their visitors. Murphy’s runs made Antonio Rudiger uncomfortable and Pritchard pounced on two Luiz lapses.

Pritchard stole the ball when Luiz received a Willy Cabellero pass, but his heavy touch saw the ball go out for a goal kick.

Next Luiz’s mis-kick was seized upon by Murphy and Pritchard created a chance, but Luiz recovered to block.
This was not to be as straightforward as Luiz’s last appearance, a 4-0 win over Qarabag in Baku on November 22.

Michy Batshuayi

Chelsea were seeking an outlet, but Michy Batshuayi’s control continually let him down, up against imposing pair Christoph Zimmermann and Grant Hanley.

Willian and Pedro, under pressure to perform following the arrival of Ross Barkley, offered little support, while Tiemoue Bakayoko and Danny Drinkwater could not get a foothold in midfield.

Murphy again ran at and beat Rudiger, but appeared caught by indecision as his final ball was neither a shot nor a cross. The ball went out for a throw in.

Luiz was booked for catching Maddison late and Batshuayi made his frustration clear by squabbling with Hanley at half-time.

Batshuayi’s tame effort early in the second half was Chelsea’s first on target. There were plenty off target.

Chelsea’s best chance was fashioned by Willian, but Gunn turned his shot around a post. The goalkeeper held another effort from the Brazilian soon afterwards.

Norwich continued to cause problems and Conte had seen enough.

With 16 minutes remaining Alvaro Morata was on, with Batshuayi withdrawn.

Charly Musonda was also sent on, for Kenedy, but Davide Zappacosta’s stoppage-time volley wide from distance was the closest Chelsea came to breaking the deadlock.

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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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