Philippe Coutinho: Good Enough to Win the Ballon d'Or?
With the transfer window now closed until January, Philippe Coutinho’s status as a Liverpool player is, for the time being at least, confirmed. Despite numerous reports linking the Brazil star with a move to Barcelona, Jurgen Klopp insisted that Coutinho would stay at Anfield – and he was right.
But how will this affect Coutinho’s development? At one point, the Brazilian was labelled as a future Ballon d’Or candidate and he still has the ability to blossom into one of the greatest players on the planet. Without a doubt, Coutinho can shine on the biggest stage but realistically, he cannot fulfil that potential until he moves to Camp Nou.
Klopp is building a monster at Anfield but the place to be is Barcelona. In recent years, the Brazilian has developed into a creative genius and he has been central to Liverpool’s success but all of that is about to change. The Reds are on the verge of something special and only a Premier League title triumph may keep Coutinho in England past next summer – a move to Barcelona beckons if the Brazil star gets his own way...
Neymar’s departure has presented the chance for a new name to shine alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. According to reports, French giants Paris Saint-Germain paid £198 million to sign Coutinho’s compatriot earlier this summer and the Liverpool man was Barca’s primary target in the transfer window. The Reds, however, stood firm and rejected bids in excess of £100 million time and time again to keep Coutinho at Anfield.
In the end, the Spanish giants missed out on Coutinho – largely due to Klopp’s stubbornness and refusal to budge. The failure to replace Neymar could come back to haunt Barcelona at the end of the campaign and that may be why, as mentioned in a Betsafe La Liga preview, La Blaugrana were slightly longer at 9/10 in the La Liga odds than archrivals Real Madrid.
Winning the Ballon d’Or is the ultimate individual aim for any footballer and Coutinho will be dreaming of being named as the best player on the planet at some point. If he stays at Liverpool, he will struggle to earn the recognition that he deserves – especially under Klopp’s new-look system. Barcelona is where he can flourish the most and, as Messi's understudy, he could learn from the master himself.
Premier League players very rarely win the Ballon d’Or award; in fact, players outside of La Liga rarely win the award. Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi have dominated this accolade for the best part of the last decade but in time, Coutinho will have his chance to win it – especially if he moves to Barcelona next summer.
Let’s be honest, Philippe Coutinho is no Lionel Messi... yet. The natural ability and desire to succeed are all there but Coutinho has done everything that he can at Anfield; the time is right for both parties to move forward.