Philippe Coutinho has revealed how his former Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez was a major influence in his decision to join Barcelona.
The 25-year-old Brazilian was officially unveiled as a Barca player at the Nou Camp on Monday after completing a medical and signing a five-year contract with the La Liga leaders.
He was paraded on the Nou Camp pitch in front of thousands of excited Barca fans and then addressed the media for the first time since his £145million move, calling it a ‘dream come true.’
Coutinho said that Suarez, whom he played alongside at Anfield between 2012 and 2014, wrote to him constantly talking in glowing terms about the club and the city.
And the Uruguayan even secured Coutinho a house in the Bellamar neighbourhood of Castelldefels, a beach town just along the coast from the city, where he will be neighbours with Suarez and also Lionel Messi.
Coutinho had revealed to Sportsmail: ‘He (Suarez) saw that a house next to his became available. He didn’t know I was coming for certain but he liked the idea. It is a kind gesture.
‘We’ve seen the pictures, it looks amazing. We are in touch all the time and I know Luis will help us to feel at home.’
And Coutinho echoed these comments when addressing the press for the first time as a Barca player, saying: ‘We almost won the Premier League together at Liverpool [in 2014], it was a great time.
‘We are good friends and he wrote me a lot of messages telling me about the city and the club. It just made me want to come here even more.’
Coutinho also spoke to his Brazilian compatriot Neymar, formerly of Barcelona and now at Paris Saint-Germain, about the attractions of moving there.
He said: ‘Of course, I spoke to Neymar and he had nothing but good things to say about the team, the city and the dressing room.
‘I was always clear from the beginning that I wanted to come here and I want to thank everyone who understood what my desire was.
‘It was always my dream to come to Barca. It was a unique opportunity and the contract is for five years.
‘I want to thank everybody, I am living a dream. I want to thank the directors for their patience. I also want to thank Liverpool and their fans for understanding it was a dream to come to FC Barcelona.’
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