Speaking to Philippe Coutinho in a disused tube station underneath the city of Barcelona is definitely a new one for us. In a city so gloriously spoilt with colour and sunshine we find ourselves in the darkness as Coutinho launches the new Nike PhantomVSN football boots.

Sitting down for a quick catch-up after freestyling his way across the rail-tracks, Coutinho discusses how he's settled into his new home since arriving from Liverpool in January, his on-pitch success with Barcelona, and how his footballing journey kicked off in his homeland of Brazil.


Philippe, this is your first full year playing and living in Barcelona. Can you tell us about the experience so far?

Look, I'm really happy to be able to live here! First of all, because it's always been a dream to play for this club and live in this city. This city is incredible! I believe my whole family is happy here and that they are all happy for me as well. I'm really happy here! Now that several months have passed, I hope to gain many achievements here.

How does it feel to step out on the pitch for occasions like the Champions League at the Camp Nou?

Whenever there are big games played here at Camp Nou, there is always an exceptional squad playing! To be able to be on that field and play is incredible! I do feel somewhat anxious during those big games. The atmosphere at Camp Nou is amazing, even more so during the big games!

Barcelona is a very creative city, is it important for you to be somewhere that reflects your personality?

Sure! I'm really an easy going sort of guy! I go out to good restaurants that I know everyone loves, because this city has a lot to offer. This city has many places that remind me of where I was born, and I believe that this is why I love this city so much.


You're a player who constantly catches the opposition off-guard, do you like being the player that does the unexpected?

Yes of course! Many things that happen during a game is due to improvising. When players come at you, it forces you to improvise on a dribble or a certain move you're going to make, and that's what I try to do when I find myself in a compromising situation.

How much of your game would you say has been taught, and how much do you think is instinctive?

I believe it's a bit of both really! Whenever I play in a certain position for a big club, one has to be responsible, and do what that position requires, whether it's defensive or tactically. However when you're attacking one has to always use their instinct by dribbling, or making a quick pass, before the opposition is aware. Therefore, I believe it's a combination of both, and I try to bring that to my game.

What was football like for you when you were growing up? Was it all a football-on-the-streets kind of thing?

It was! We play a lot of futsal in Brazil. Before we start futsal we usually play football on the streets with friends. Where I lived, when I was 6 years old, we played on the streets, and when at school we played football with bottle tops. We made a football out of anything we could find! We played football with anything, and then playing futsal really helped me, in terms of ball control, as well as forcing me to think faster in certain situations, and that is something I try to carry with me even today.

And finally, what's the thought that goes through your head when you play in a fixture like El Clásico?

It's one of the biggest ʿClasicosʾ in the world, if not the biggest! The whole world stops just to watch it, and I had the opportunity to play in one. It was amazing! I hope to be able to play in many more to come and win many more to come! 


Check out the full event recap as Coutinho launched the PhantomVSN in a disused Barcelona tube station.