Barcelona Star Philippe Coutinho To Change Nationality Just Months Before World Cup
PHILIPPE COUTINHO says he is ready to register for Portuguese nationality in order to boost Barcelona’s transfer business.
Brazilian Coutinho is one of three non-EU players on Barcelona’s books and is set to play at the World Cup this year.
Barca are not allowed any more players from outside the EU yet have scouts all over south America seeking to secure deals.
And Coutinho has revealed he is set to free up a spot in the squad for a new player.
In an interview with Barcelona-based newspaper Mundo Deportivo, the ex-Liverpool star revealed how he is close to applying for a Portuguese passport.
“Yes, I can get citizenship through my wife,” he said.
Coutinho’s wife, Aine, is Portuguese and the player is able to register as a Portuguese citizen after three years of marriage.
Philippe Coutinho will not, however, switch footballing allegiances to Portugal and is still due to represent Brazil at Russia 2018.
It is the same method of nationality change that Luis Suarez undertook in 2014, shortly after joining Barcelona.
Suarez is married to an Italia, Sofia Balbi, and the Uruguayan was therefore able to obtain Italian citizenship and free up a non-EU space in Barca’s side.
Paulinho and Yerry Mina are the two non-EU players alongside COutinho in the current quota.
Coutinho obtaining Portuguese citizenship means Barcelona can push to sign Brazilian midfielder Arthur in the summer.
Mundo Deportivo claim Arthur will be able to join the Nou Cmap club before the start of next season without being forced out on an immediate loan deal.