Lionel Messi is the reason that Philippe Coutinho's huge money move to Barcelona has failed, according to former midfielder Ronald de Boer.
Coutinho joined Barcelona from Liverpool in a €160 million deal back in 2018 and the transfer made him the second most expensive player in the world at the time.
But his move to Spain hasn't worked out and the Brazilian now finds himself on loan at Bayern Munich with his parent club looking to move him on in a permanent deal.
De Boer has speculated that the 27-year-old's shortcomings are due to Barcelona not being able to cope defensively with him and Messi in the team.
"I think Coutinho was a player where everything [went through] him, every ball went to him at Liverpool," De Boer told talkSPORT per Liverpool Echo.
"He could probably do less work, basically what Messi does with Barcelona.
"And the thing is you see how everything works together, it's like a machine.
"If one is not doing it it's fine maybe, they can handle that, but if it's two similar types of players, that they also want every ball and have that special position in the team, then you see how vulnerable a team can be.
"I think we saw that with Barcelona. There's only one that can do that now and that is Messi."
He went on to stress that the midfielder is still a top player - but Barcelona may not be the best place to showcase his talents.
"The team is adapting and if you have to adapt for two players like this, it's difficult.
"I think Coutinho is an unbelievable player but sometimes he doesn't fit the puzzle and maybe with another club it will perfectly go well.
"It doesn't mean he is a bad player. It doesn't mean that you are not a great player when you can't play for Barcelona - no.
"It sometimes doesn't fit your style of play and sometimes you have bad luck, not bad luck, that Messi's around and he has that role, and then you have to do a different role that doesn't suit you a little bit.
"So it's a shame for Coutinho but I think now he will do okay."
Coutinho has been linked with a move back to England, with a return to Liverpool or shock move to Newcastle United among those mooted.
Where do you think Coutinho will move to next?
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Featured Image Credit: PA Images
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