Philippe Coutinho has been offered the No.10 shirt at Barcelona following Lionel Messi’s sensational exit this summer.
With the club unable to register his new contract despite Messi agreeing to a 50 per cent pay cut, Barca’s greatest ever player has ended a 21-year association with the Blaugrana and signed a two-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain.
It’s nigh on impossible for Barca to replace their all-time top scorer and so many were calling for his No.10 shirt, now vacant, to be retired.
However, in a shock turn of events, former Liverpool star Coutinho could end up wearing the No.10 on his back this season.
Despite Coutinho’s career at the Nou Camp being underwhelming following his £142 million switch in January 2018,Mundo Deportivosay Ronald Koeman is still counting on him.
Given its importance and the extra pressure it would be bring, the 29-year-old is said to be thinking about inheriting the No.10 from Messi, who took it on from the Ronaldinho 13 years ago.
Koeman will count on Coutinho for one last time this season. The club have offered him to take the #10.
— @mundodeportivo pic.twitter.com/aR7G4xjCFZ
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) August 17, 2021
He had been heavily linked with a move away from Barca but now looks to stay put and play a key role in the post-Messi era.
Coutinho was given Johan Cruyff’s No.14 upon joining Barca and reverted back to the number when Antoine Griezmann signed from Atletico Madrid and was named as the new No.7, which Coutinho wore in 2018/19.
At both Liverpool and Bayern Munich, where he spent 2019/20 on loan and won the treble, Coutinho sported the No.10.
His No.14 shirt was recently handed to Rey Manaj, who has been promoted to the first-team from the club’s B-team.
Coutinho is therefore without a shirt number and the No.10 is currently the only one available in the squad – except the No.25 reserved for goalkeepers according to La Liga rules.
Coutinho has made 90 appearances for Barcelona, scoring 24 goals in all competitions.
Featured Image Credit: Image: PA