Bayern Munich formally bid farewell to midfielder Philippe Coutinho on Wednesday after his season-long loan deal from Barcelona has come to an end, and as expected, to sign him permanently.
“The Brazil international, who joined Bayern on loan from Barcelona last August, returns to the Catalan side following the expiration of his season-long deal,” the club said in a statement.
Due to the suspension of matches caused by the coronavirus pandemic and preceding lockdowns, Coutinho’s contract at Bayern was then extended to cover until the end of the Champions League finals tournament in Lisbon.
The club’s CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge thanked the 28-year-old midfielder upon his commitment towards the team all throughout their dominant 2019-2020 season.
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“With his creativity and excellent technique, he livened up our game in this triple-winning season,” said Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who made it clear last month they would not bring Philippie Coutinho to Munich permanently.
Philippe Coutinho had to reboot his career with the Bundesliga giants after a frustrating period in Barcelona coming from his high-profile transfer from Liverpool in 2018.
Coutinho netted 11 goals, 9 assists, in 38 games for Bayern, that includes scored twice in the 8-2
quarter-final match against Barcelona.
He also came on as a second-half replacement in Bayern’s 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the Lisbon final, tallying up being as one of only three players from Bayern who featured in all 11 matches.
Coutinho has struggled to make it into the starting XI for Bayern once head coach Hansi Flick replaced Niko Kovac last November, preferring Thomas Mueller in the attacking midfield role over him.
Having paid 8.5 million euros ($10 million) to have Coutinho on loan, Bayern opted not to use the buy option of 120 million euros.
“Making any further investments of this magnitude in these difficult economic times… are also difficult for us,” club CEO Rummenigge said.
However, Philippe Coutinho seems to have a future in Barcelona. New head coach Ronald Koeman reportedly phoned him on Monday to assure that the Brazilian international will be part of his planning for the upcoming season.