Rivaldo Exclusive: Coutinho must step up if he returns to Barcelona

It looks like Bayern Munich won’t pay Philippe Coutinho’s option clause at the end of the season and the player is likely to return to Barcelona.

I always thought Coutinho would adapt better to Spanish football than German, as there are some language and lifestyle issues that could be a little different for a Brazilian in Germany.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t gone well for the player in either league and he will be returning to Barcelona. It’s up to the club and manager to decide whether he is going to have another chance next season or not.

Coutinho needs to rediscover Liverpool form

If the chance comes, Coutinho really needs to step up and show the great player he is, just like he did in England with Liverpool and has done with the Brazilian national team for which he is still an important player.

Coutinho Brazil 2018.jpg

I believing in his qualities and think much will depend on his will and mental strength. He must prove that others were wrong to write him off and that he can still make the difference for any team.

Playing for Barcelona is a unique chance for a player and perhaps Coutinho’s experience in the Bundesliga has made him wake up and see that Barça could be the right place for him.

Of course, it might not turn out to be the case and he could join a Premier League club (Chelsea seems interested). Barça might prefer to get back some of his investment in the player.

I think Coutinho should fight to stay at Barca and try to convince the club of his qualities. That would be a real demonstration of his personality.

Too early to start thinking about selling Griezmann

Many Barca fans were expecting much more from Antoine Griezmann in his first season at Barcelona, especially without Coutinho as well as Luis Suárez and Ousman Dembéle due to injury. But I don’t believe it’s time to start thinking of selling the player.

A world champion, who is well-adapted to Spanish football after his time at Ateltico Madrid, would be expected to make a bigger impact at Camp Nou. But Griezmann is still capable of making the difference, especially in Lionel Messi’s absence, so we must wait and see if he can get adapt to Barca’s system. Griezmann has the quality to succeed at the club.

His first season is reminding me of Coutinho’s. Both were playing great football when they arrived at the club but didn’t manage to replicate it at Barcelona. I think he needs to dedicate himself a little bit more to truly produce his best football and become a decisive member of Quique Setien’s team.

Braitwhaite will have limited time to prove his quality

Barça’s late signing Martin Braitwhiate has recently arrived at the club and was starting to earn some minutes before La Liga gets suspended. He arrived to replace Luis Suárez and Ousmane Dembélé and needs to have more opportunities soon to convince his new manager and fans.

This pause in La Liga isn’t beneficial for his career as he could have less time to consolidate himself – especially because Suárez is having more time to recover – and next season he could also have Coutinho fighting for a place in the starting 11.

Martin Braithwaite 956.jpg

If he didn’t manage to play regularly in the next few months he could end up being forgotten as better players will come and he could never had the same chances that he would have now to perform as an important role at Barcelona squad.

My current top-3 Brazilian players in the Premier League

Thinking about Brazilian players in English football, I cannot avoid mentioning three from the top two teams of Premier League at the moment.

For me, Alisson is a distinct goalkeeper – highly reliable and capable of transmitting lots of confidence to his defenders. Perhaps if he’d played against Atletico Madrid at Anfield in the Champions League the Reds could have reached quarter-finals.

Also from Liverpool, I have to highlight Roberto Firmino who continues to excel game after game, contributing goals and many assists.

Roberto Firmino 1280 Spurs v Liverpool.JPG

Last but not least, I have to mention Gabriel Jesus for his efforts at Manchester City. He is scoring many goals – some of them decisive, such as the one he scored at the Bernabeu against Real Madrid – and becoming an important piece in Pep Guardiola’s system.

Furthermore, all three players are important members of Brazilian national team and regular options for manager Tite.

Of course, there are many other good Brazilian players performing well in the Premier League and I would include Lucas Moura if there was another spot.

Brazilians love English pitches and fans

It’s nice to see that Brazilian players are very valuable in England nowadays and that only confirms their huge quality.

Moura is performing at a good level for Spurs, but he isn’t getting chances with the Brazil national team which is understandable because Brazil has a lot of quality players in all positions these days – especially in attacking zones.

Through history we had some very successful Brazilian players in the Premier League. The technical quality of Brazilian players suits the big atmospheres and good pitches allow them to perform at their best and to get motivated by the enthusiastic fans.