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Barcelona Unveil Philippe Coutinho, But Injury will delay debut

Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho’s debut at the club has been put on hold after the Brazilian’s medical revealed a thigh strain.

Coutinho’s £142m move has made him the second-most expensive player behind former Barca forward Neymar.

He was presented to the Media and Barcelona fans at the Camp Nou.

The Spanish giants, who signed the former Liverpool man, confirmed that Coutinho will be sidelined for around 20 days.

The news, which broke as Coutinho completed the final stages of his move from Merseyside, means that the player will be unable to make his first appearance for the La Liga leaders for up to three weeks.

Barcelona currently top La Liga by nine points and are 16 points clear of rivals Real Madrid after 18 games.

Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu confirmed that Coutinho had offers from other clubs, with reports in recent days claiming Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid maintained an interest, but that his desire to come to Camp Nou made the difference.

“[Coutinho] is a player that Barcelona have been trying to bring here since last summer,” Bartomeu told the gathered media at the Camp Nou moments after the Brazilian had signed his contract.

“It’s not been easy, but Coutinho was happy to come here and his effort and patience has been key in getting him here.

“We can be satisfied that one of the world’s star players has landed in Barcelona. There were other clubs interest in him, but his desire to come here has seen him become the latest part of [Ernesto] Valverde’s project.”

Coutinho becomes Barcelona’s fifth signing of the season following the return of Gerard Deulofeu to his boyhood club and the arrivals of Ousmane Dembele, Paulinho and Nelson Semedo last summer.

The club turn their attention to the Copa del Rey this week, as they prepare to face Celta Vigo in the last sixteen of the competition on Thursday.

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