Despite something of a nightmare season for Barcelona’s Brazilian playmaker, Philippe Coutinho still managed to accumulate the third-highest fantasy football points total for a LaLiga midfielder in 2018/19.
Coutinho was expensive, however, costing 10.5 million for any fantasy LaLiga managers who wanted him in their teams.
He made 22 starts in the Spanish league and another 12 substitute appearances, meaning he played in 34 league games altogether for Barca during the campaign.
Coutinho contributed five goals and only two assists as he underwhelmed the Camp Nou crowd on a regular basis.
His presence within the top three of the highest-scoring LaLiga midfielders for the whole season could be seen as a damning indictment of the current crop of midfielders plying their trade in Spain’s top tier.
It’s strange to be writing a piece about one of the top-performing midfielders in such a negative tone but that’s how things have panned out for Coutinho at Barcelona.
He has been booed by the Barca fans on numerous occasions and his future at the club is already up in the air.
At just 27, Coutinho should now only be entering the peak years of his career in terms of performance, yet he finds himself somewhat in limbo as the summer transfer window begins to gather pace.
It’s anyone’s guess if he will still be a Barcelona player next season. But with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez both now 32, surely the passing of the torch at the Catalan club will be taking place sooner rather than later.
Is it worth the risk for Coutinho to hang on at Camp Nou to see if he can fill the Messi-shaped void? Let’s be honest, though. No-one will take Messi’s place when he’s done and he may not be ‘done’ for another few years yet.
Coutinho, like many South American players before him, saw Barcelona as the ultimate dream. They were the pinnacle of what he could hope to achieve in the professional game.
Shortly after he signed, though, it all came crashing down for the little midfielder. Whether he has the mental strength to fight to make a home for himself at Barcelona remains to be seen.
In fantasy LaLiga terms, Coutinho’s highlights of 2018/19 were few and far between. His highest points-total in a game was in his first appearance of the season. He was awarded six points in Barcelona’s 3-0 win at home to Alaves in August 2018, after scoring and helping his team to a clean sheet.
He would never manage six points in any other game all season.
Watch this space to see if Coutinho is still a LaLiga player come August.
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