Coutinho vs Verratti

Coutinho vs Verratti – Who Would Be A Better Replacement For Iniesta

With the illustrious playing career of one of the world’s greatest midfielder, coming to an end, it’s time to start considering who could be his replacement. 32-year-old Andrés Iniesta has touched the game in many positive ways, but Barcelona desperately need to find his heir ASAP – who could that be?

Andrés Iniesta

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Andrés Iniesta is one footballer who needs little or no introduction. The diminutive Spanish midfield maestro has seen it all, played it all and won it all. Simply put, Andrés Iniesta is a world-beater. At age 32, it’s almost amazing to list what Iniesta has achieved – I won’t list his achievements in this piece; it’ll take an entire article or a Wikipedia page to do that.

Despite his achievements, age is gradually catching up on the midfield master. His compatriot, Xavi Hernandez had already quit Barcelona and headed to Qatar to earn some well-deserved millions. It’s only a matter of time before it’s Iniesta who hangs his playing boots for Barcelona. Replacing a player of Iniesta’s caliber will give some headaches to the Catalan giants. Who would be a better replacement for Iniesta, between these two – Philippe Coutinho and Marco Verratti? Let’s dissect them critically.

Philippe Coutinho

Big things were expected from Philippe Coutinho when he first moved to Europe at the age of 18; even though he was signed at 16. However, lack of first team action with Inter Milan engendered a loan move to Espanyol after a year of being on the fringes with Inter. Upon his return to Italy, after the completion of his loan spell, things barely improved. Meanwhile, Liverpool had seen enough to pay £8 million for him.

It is at Liverpool were Coutinho has matured into the player he is today. The Brazilian has contributed some stunning goals for Liverpool since his arrival at Anfield in 2013. He has scored 35 goals in 170 appearances for Liverpool.

Philippe Coutinho 24, is known for his wide range of passing, speed, excellent dribbling skill, long range shooting and technique – these are qualities that would sit well with Barca’s pattern of football. Brazilian striker and Coutinho’s teammate at international level, Neymar, reiterated this when he was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying:

“A Premier League player that I would like to have in Barcelona is Coutinho,”

"I believe Philippe Coutinho is a player that would totally fit in Barcelona."

Marco Verratti

Marco Verratti has shown maturity beyond his years in his football career. By 2009, when he was yet 16, he was already a first-team regular for Serie B side, Pescara. His football maturity and talent sparked a transfer tussle between Europe’s elite clubs for his signature. Despite the media hype and frenzy that followed his stellar performances, he remained at Pescara until 2012, before making a move to a big club; that club was Paris Saint-Germain.

Marco Verratti has been a force to be reckoned with since his move to PSG. He has helped the French club win a plethora of titles. Although Verratti is small in stature, he is a highly combatant and aggressive midfielder who dominates the midfield and can take the game by the scruff of the neck.

Verratti is known for his tenacity, wide range of passing, agility and combative style of play. Verratti’s teammate at PSG, Blaise Matuidi, says he sees Verratti as a natural successor to Andrés Iniesta at Barca. Matuidi was quoted by France Bleu as saying:

“Iniesta is an extraordinary player. He is getting a bit older now, but the things he does are amazing.”

“We are fortunate to have his successor with us. That is the message I gave Iniesta when we spoke. When Verratti was down on the ground with an injury, I told Iniesta that Marco was his successor and he replied that he thought the same,”

Coutinho vs Verratti this season

Both players (Coutinho and Verratti) are the same age (24); they’re still young and have a lot to prove and achieve. However, which of the pair has performed better this season?

In 22 league games played, Philippe Coutinho has provided 5 assists and scored 6 goals. This is opposed to Marco Verratti, who has provided 4 assists with 2 goals to show in 20 games. Coutinho has also created 47 goalscoring chances for his teammates as opposed to Verratti’s 32 chances created. Defensively, both players have made 15 interceptions apiece. Extenuating factors such as injuries to both players have also affected their output this term.

Both players are great and possess immense talent. For me, however, Coutinho is the man who is more likely to succeed at Barcelona. He contributes more to the team going forward and can also defend when necessary. I leave you to make your choice.

About the Author Kingsley

I am a football/soccer connoisseur who enjoys crafting interesting articles like the one you just read.

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