Philippe Coutinho has spoken of his desire to live up to expectations after moving from Barcelona to Bayern Munich on loan for the 2019/20 season in a deal that includes an option to buy.
Barca say Bayern will pay €8.5 million and Coutinho’s wages, and that the option for the Bundesliga champions to then buy is fixed at €120m.
The 27-year-old Brazil playmaker passed his medical with Bayern on Sunday before putting pen to paper on his loan contract, and following the deal being confirmed, was then unveiled at a press conference on Monday afternoon.
He has been given the number 10 shirt previously worn by Arjen Robben, who retired during the summer.
Coutinho was quoted on his new club’s official website as saying at Monday’s press conference: “The jersey of FC Bayern and the number 10 is a big responsibility.
“It belonged to Robben, he was a great reference in football. I hope to be able to confirm expectations with good football on the pitch.”
Coutinho joined Barca from Liverpool in January 2018 in a £142m deal but has struggled to reproduce the kind of form he showed for the Reds.
He has scored 21 goals in 75 games in all competitions for Barcelona and produced 11 assists, winning La Liga twice and the Copa del Rey.
Regarding Coutinho’s number at Bayern, chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: “We planned to not award the 10 and seven this year as a gesture for Robben and (Franck) Ribery (who also left the club over the summer).
“We had a conversation with Robben and we wanted to give Philippe his number as a token of appreciation, and Hasan (Salihamidzic, Bayern’s sporting director) showed him the jersey at the first meeting.
“Arjen had no problems with that, he said Philippe was a worthy successor.”
Coutinho said the ’10’ role was his “favourite position” before stressing that “the coach (Nico Kovac) decides where to play”
He added: “I want to be ready to play as soon as possible and I cannot wait for tomorrow with the first meeting with my colleagues and the coaches.
“There are always big expectations at Bayern and of course the Champions League is a goal and I will do my best to win the Bundesliga, the cup (the DFB-Pokal) and the Champions League with my colleagues.
“I have a big challenge here and I hope to stay here for a long time and win many titles.
“I was presented with an ambitious project, I’m an ambitious guy, and I talked to Thiago, Rafinha and Lucio, and I’ve heard a lot of good things, they really helped me a lot.
“I’m hard-working and ambitious, and every time I wear the Bayern jersey, I’ll do the best I can on the field to reach our goals.”
Rummenigge added: “We are convinced that we have brought a very good player and I do not rule out that it can be a long-standing partnership.”
Salihamidzic said: “Philippe will strengthen our team and give our game that spectacular touch, which we all look forward to.”
Marko Grujic has backed incoming Bayern Munich signing Philippe Coutinho to light up the Bundesliga as the Brazilian closes in on a loan move.
The Bavarian giants confirmed a deal was struck with Barcelona for a season-long loan with the option to buy following their 2-2 draw with Hertha Berlin on Friday.
Grujic, on loan from Liverpool, was central to the game’s narrative, scoring one and conceding a penalty for Bayern’s equaliser.
And post-match he spoke to Bild about what German football can expect from his former team-mate at Anfield.
“It’s a big thing for the whole Bundesliga to have the possibility to see Coutinho play now,” the Serbian said.
“He is a special and exciting player, he does crazy things. He got incredible tricks and skills in his locker. I enjoyed every training session with him in Liverpool. He will be by far the best footballer in Germany.”
Coutinho was in Munich on Sunday to undergo a medical and conclude all other formalities. The 27-year-old will become Bayern’s sixth signing of the summer after Benjamin Pavard, Lucas Hernandez, Jann-Fiete Arp, Ivan Perisic and Mickael Cuisance all joined to front up a major squad overhaul.
However, their season began in an inauspicious fashion as Robert Lewandowski’s double was only enough for a point against Hertha.
And the Polish striker also offered his thoughts on Coutinho post-match.
“I don’t think he’ll need that much time to adapt to our system and ideas,” Lewandowski said. “”I think he’s the sort of player that can settle in without many problems.”
Niko Kovac has set his Bayern Munich side the task of defending their Bundesliga title as they head into their opening match of the season at home to Hertha Berlin on Friday.
The Bavarians secured a seventh consecutive league trophy in May and the coach insists the goal for the upcoming campaign is to extend that run.
Hertha finished in 11th last season, 35 points behind the champions and having lost nine more matches. Yet despite Bayern’s recent domestic dominance, Kovac does not expect the game to be easy.
“It’s like every year, no-one really knows where he stands,” the 47-year-old said in a press conference reported by the club website.
“(You should not) overvalue the results of the preparatory games. A lot of work is waiting for us on Friday.
“But we play at home, we have the first game of the Bundesliga season and, of course, want to end this with a win. We want to win the title.”
The Croatian boss will be without new signing Ivan Perisic after the winger was ruled out through a yellow card suspension carried over from his time with Serie A club Inter Milan.
Also sidelined for the Bavarians is Spain’s Javi Martinez, who has yet to train with the team after picking up a knock.
In the previous meeting between the two sides Hertha managed a narrow 1-0 victory over Bayern, but in the four meetings before that the Bavarians were unbeaten.
Hertha general manager Michael Preetz believes his side will need to produce something special to beat last year’s champions.
“I don’t even know if there is a team that has caused Bayern difficulties in recent years. We are possibly one of them,” he said.
“We know that we need an exceptional performance.”
Hertha’s new coach Ante Covic was just as cautious, adding: “If you play away against the German champions, you have the heaviest opponent before the start on the first match day.
“Still, the anticipation is great when you open the season and we all start from scratch.”