?Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho could be set to secure Portuguese citizenship, in order to free up an extra squad place for non-EU players at his new club.
The 25-year-old finally completed his move to the Nou Camp from Liverpool in January for an eventual fee of an £145m, and the midfielder is beginning to settle in to proceedings after shaking off an injury.
He will be hoping to help Barca maintain their high standards from now until the end of the season to deliver the league title and then it’ll be on to the World Cup in Russia, but after that, things could be about to change regarding the player’s citizenship.
The star is about to begin the process of obtaining a Portuguese passport, which he is eligible for through being married to his wife Aine – he revealed to ?Mundo Deportivo.
To secure a Portuguese passport, one has to have been married to their partner for at least three years – Coutinho has been married to Aine since 2012, meaning he could have done this during his time at Liverpool.
The Reds never had any need to instruct the player to seek dual citizenship though, whereas Barca want Coutinho off their list of ‘extra-community positions’ (also currently occupied by Yerry Mina and Paulinho) so they have a free space for a potential incoming player from a country outside the European Union.
The Spanish giants ?have recently been linked with a move for Gremio youngster Arthur, which could be their reason for wanting Coutinho to secure a Portuguese passport, which would not result in a switch in allegiance from the Brazil national team to Portugal.
It is not the first time Barca have used the loophole – the club implored Luis Suarez to obtain an Italian passport in 2014 thanks to his wife Sofia Balbi.
” data-viewability=”https://www.riddle.com/a/142053″ contenteditable=”false”>