Philippe Coutinho is headed to the Middle East.

Qatar’s Al Duhail announced on their website on Monday that they have signed Coutinho on a one-season loan deal. He has had a successful professional career and is a great asset for us as we head into the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL).” Coutinho will wear the number 9, a number he has never worn in his career.

The move was a foregone conclusion. On January 1, transfer market expert Fabrizio Romano tweeted, “Al Duhail has reached a deal for Coutinho! After finalizing the final details with Aston Villa today, ‘here we go’ (the signature phrase for a completed deal). Coutinho and Al Duhail agreed personal terms a week ago. We didn’t listen to the offers from Real Betis and Besiktas. Details are being finalized,” hinting at a surprise deal. Today, a week later, it’s finally official and the move to Qatar is complete.

Saudi oil money is shaking up the world of soccer. Al Nasr, Al Ahli, Al Hilal, and Al Ittihad, which are all backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), have been aggressively investing. Al Nasr has signed Cristiano Ronaldo, Sadio Mane, Marcelo Brozovic, and Aymeric Laporte. Al Ahly have added Roberto Firmino, Riyad Mahrez, Edouard Mendy, and Franck Kessie. Al Hilal brought in Kalidou Koulibaly, Nabil Neves, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Neymar, Yacine Bunu, and Aleksandar Mitrovic. Al Ittihad brought in Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Fabinho, and Jota.

Big deals were also struck in Qatar, a country that is second to none in terms of oil money. Al Duhail, where Nam Tae-hee played for a long time and Kim Moon-hwan is currently playing, signed Coutinho. Coutinho joined Liverpool after spells at CR Vasco da Gama and Inter Milan. In 2013, Liverpool signed Coutinho for the bargain price of €13 million (about $18.6 billion).

The investment paid off. Coutinho has dominated the Premier League (PL) with his flamboyant personal style and razor-sharp decision-making. He coined the phrase “Coutinho Zone” with a shot from the edge of the penalty box that found its way into the corner of the goal. Coutinho went on to score 54 goals and provide 45 assists in 201 appearances for Liverpool, who were in a dark period at the time.

But the joy was short-lived. Coutinho joined mega-club Barcelona for an astronomical transfer fee of €135 million. It still stands as the third most expensive transfer fee in soccer history. However, Coutinho hasn’t quite lived up to the hype. He was hampered by injuries, both major and minor, and even had a loan spell at Bayern Munich that never really took off. Eventually, Coutinho left Barcelona and joined Villa to continue his career.

Coutinho then left the European scene. Turkique Besiktas and Spanish side Betis were also in the running, but in the end, Coutinho decided to join hands with Al Duhail. The superstar who lit up the English scene in the 2010s is heading to the Middle East to spend his twilight years in Qatar.바카라사이트

Coutinho’s new club, Al Duhail, is a powerhouse in the Qatari league. They have won eight titles since their inception in 2009 and were crowned champions last season. This season, they will also be competing in the ACL, so the addition of the veteran Coutinho is like a silver bullet. He will also be paired with South Korean international fullback Kim Moon-Hwan. Al Duhail will face Persepolis (Iran), Istiklol (Tajikistan), and Al Nasr (Saudi Arabia) in Group E of the 2023-24 ACL.

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