World Cup legend Rivaldo has told fellow Brazilian Philippe Coutinho to ignore talk of a return to Liverpool and focus on proving himself again at Barcelona.
Coutinho made the eye-watering £142million from Merseyside to Spain in January, 2018 but didn’t have the impact many expected at the Catalan giants.
It meant in August, 2019 Barca allowed him to go on a season-long loan to Bayern Munich. Despite some early promise at the Bundesliga champions, the 27-year-old has rather lost his way once more, fuelling rumours of a return to England.
But Rivaldo, who lifted the World Cup with Brazil in 2002 and scored 86 goals in 157 appearances for Barcelona, believes the attacking midfielder must try and show he has what it takes to become a success at the Nou Camp.
“If the chance comes, Coutinho really needs to step up and show the great player he is, just like he did in England with Liverpool and has done with the Brazilian national team for which he is still an important player,” Rivaldo told Betfair.
“I believe in his qualities and think much will depend on his will and mental strength. He must prove that others were wrong to write him off and that he can still make the difference for any team.
“Playing for Barcelona is a unique chance for a player and perhaps Coutinho’s experience in the Bundesliga has made him wake up and see that Barca could be the right place for him.
“Of course, it might not turn out to be the case and he could join a Premier League club. Barca might prefer to get back some of his investment in the player.
“I think Coutinho should fight to stay at Barca and try to convince the club of his qualities. That would be a real demonstration of his personality.”
Coutinho made 152 appearances and scored 42 goals for Liverpool and a return to Anfield has been muted while Chelsea are also reported to be interested in the Brazilian star, who has won 61 caps for his country.
Rivaldo is doubtful that Bayern will take the option to buy Coutinho at the end of his loan spell but ultimately believes that Spain is a more natural home for him than the Bundesliga.
“I always thought Coutinho would adapt better to Spanish football than German, as there are some language and lifestyle issues that could be a little different for a Brazilian in Germany,” he said
“Unfortunately, it hasn’t gone well for the player in either league and he will be returning to Barcelona. It’s up to the club and manager to decide whether he is going to have another chance next season or not.”