Philippe Coutinho: Andres Iniesta's 'genius' and Lionel Messi 'honour'
Last Updated: 06/02/18 10:46pm
Philippe Coutinho has lifted the lid on his new Barcelona team-mates, describing Andres Iniesta as a "genius" and explaining why Lionel Messi is "unbelievable".
Coutinho joined Barca from Liverpool in January in a deal worth a £142m. He has so far started two games for his new club and come off the bench in two others.
And he has been telling La Liga World about the experience of playing and training alongside the likes of Iniesta, Messi and Luis Suarez.
"It's an incredible feeling when you look across the dressing room and see Andres, Leo, Luis and Sergio Busquets, and everyone else," he said. "They are players I used to watch on TV or play with on PlayStation and now I am sharing the same dressing room, it's incredible for me.
"Andres is a genius and it's an honour to share the same dressing room. I hope to learn a lot from him. Of course there is only one Iniesta. I have come here to try to create history of my own and learn from these great players.
"Like everyone else I thought Messi was the best player in the world and to be here with him now is a fantastic honour. It's a great experience watching him in training and in matches…the way he can transform a match is unbelievable.
"He is really laid back as a person. Like everyone else he gave me a great welcome. This was a shock because you see he is a real person.
"I have known Luis for a while, we played together in England and were always together there. I talked to him a lot before I came and he has helped me settle down here. He is an incredible player. He is always scoring, pressuring the opposition, fighting for the ball, he is a real star."
The way he can transform a match is unbelievable
Coutinho on Messi
Coutinho also spoke about Barca head coach Ernesto Valverde, saying: "He is a brilliant coach and gave me a great welcome like all the players and the staff. He has given me encouragement and time and space to adapt. He knows Barca is different.
"He searches me out in training along with Yerry [Mina] who has also just arrived, and talks to us and tells us how he likes things to be done in both defence and attack. It's still early days and I hope to learn a lot."
Despite his hefty price tag, Coutinho faces a battle for a starting spot at Barcelona, particularly when Ousmane Dembele returns from injury.
But the 25-year-old is determined to succeed, wherever he is asked to play.
"I have always said I want to work harder so I can develop, learn, grow and improve," he said. "I love to play football and when I come on the pitch I want to do my best to help the team. It's up to the coach the position I play.
"I am coming here to learn and contribute with my style of football. The most important thing for me in my time here is to win titles. My dream in this shirt is to make the fans happy, win trophies for them and enjoy playing in the Barca colours."
Watch the full interview with Coutinho on La Liga World on Sky Sports Football from 11pm on Tuesday