Philippe Coutinho does not regret Barcelona move, happy at Aston Villa

Philippe Coutinho has insisted that he does not regret leaving Liverpool for Barcelona and is honoured to be playing under Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa.

Speaking to ESPN Brazil, as relayed by Goal, Barcelona loanee Philippe Coutinho, who is currently on loan at Aston Villa, has claimed that he does not regret the decision to join the Blaugrana despite his struggles at Camp Nou.

Coutinho was a superstar in the Premier League with Liverpool when he decided to leave the club for Barcelona in January 2018. The deal cost the Catalans a club-record fee, but things did not pan out as planned for either party as the Brazilian playmaker struggled to make any kind of impact for his new club.

A loan move away to Bayern Munich did see Coutinho get back into a semblance of form, but he was back to the usual upon returning to Barcelona in 2020. Having struggled for game-time under Ronald Koeman and current manager Xavi Hernandez, the ex-Liverpool ace returned to the Premier League in January, signing for Aston Villa on loan.

However, he has insisted that he does not regret joining Barcelona despite how bad things got. “No. At certain times we have to make decisions, and one of my big dreams was to play for Barcelona. At that moment I decided to make that decision, but always with great affection, respect and gratitude for Liverpool and for the friendships over the years I’ve been in the club. At that moment I had a decision to make and I don’t regret it,” he said.

Now back in England, Coutinho plays under his former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa. The Barcelona loanee made a great start to his career at Villa Park, but his performances have mellowed down a bit of late. Coutinho expressed his admiration for Gerrard and insisted that he feels honoured to play under the Liverpool legend.

“I always admired him a lot. For me, it was an honour to have played with him,” the Brazilian said. “Now having him as a coach, with the experience he has, training has been strong and demanding. He has great ambitions, I am happy to be here, and I hope to respond to what he expects by helping our team to achieve our goals.”

“For me, it was an honour to be part of his career as a player, and now, as a coach, I feel even more honoured. I have always had this relationship of admiration and respect. I wish I had that opportunity to work with him again. He’s a guy who’s very open to all players and has a lot of influence in the group.”

Coutinho’s contract with Barcelona runs until the summer of 2023. But Aston Villa have the option of buying him at the end of the season, while he is also attracting interest from Arsenal and West Ham United. So, a return to Camp Nou at the end of the season does not look likely for the 29-year-old.

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