• News

Philippe Coutinho: My controversial goal celebration was liberating

Getty Images

Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho has no regrets over his controversial goal celebration against Manchester United, despite the hostile reception he’s received for it.

The former Liverpool star hit a superb long-range effort into the net for Barcelona’s third and final goal in Tuesday’s 3-0 Champions League win over United.

Coutinho then celebrated his fine goal by shutting his eyes and placing his fingers into his ears in front of the home supporters at Camp Nou. This left the fans incensed as they felt it was a disrespectful gesture.

And, during Barcelona’s 2-1 La Liga win against Real Sociedad, Coutinho was subjected to whistles when coming on for Ousmane Dembele in the 71st-minute as a substitute.

However, the 26-year-old has no regrets and gave his reasons for why the celebration felt liberating for him.

“I have always been someone who respects everybody,” Coutinho told YouTuber Koko.

“The truth is that this (celebration) was for the people to see that I have to block out the sound in order to focus on a match or on my job so that it won’t affect me. It was like a liberation.”

Coutinho joined Barcelona in January 2018 from Liverpool in a €160m deal. He’s since gone on to manage 21 goals and 11 assists in 70 appearances.

After confessing how nervous he was about meeting Lionel Messi and on his desire to play with Ronaldinho, Coutinho opened up on the prospect of taking on Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals.

The Brazilian spent five years at Anfield, where he made 201 appearances and was twice voted Liverpool’s player of the season.

“It will be something special,” admitted Coutinho. “I am anxious because I know that moment is coming.”

The first leg between Barcelona and Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals will take place at Camp Nou on May 1. The two sides will meet again at Anfield for the return fixture a week later.

BARCELONA, SPAIN – APRIL 16: Philippe Coutinho of Barcelona controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between FC Barcelona and Manchester United at Camp Nou on April 16, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)