Philippe Coutinho was in attendance as Barcelona ran riot against Celta Vigo last night.
The Brazilian is currently nursing a thigh injury that will prevent him from making his Barça debut for close to three weeks, but that didn’t stop him from cheering on his new teammates in the second leg of their Copa del Rey tie against Celta.
And he was given a glimpse of the exceptional standard that the Blaugrana are capable of playing at.
Ernesto Valverde’s side won 5-0 and it was the Lionel Messi show in the first half.
The Argentinian scored twice in three minutes to give Barcelona a 2-0 lead and Jordi Alba and Luis Suarez got on the scoresheet before half-time.
Ivan Rakitic added a fifth in the 87th minute, heading home from Ousmane Dembele’s corner, and the Blaugrana celebrated a 6-1 aggregative victory.
There were probably quite a few Barcelona supporters joking that they don’t need Coutinho; their team really was outstanding.
HOW COUTINHO REACTED TO MESSI'S SECOND GOAL
They become even stronger with Coutinho, who arrived this week in a £142 million deal with Liverpool, and the playmaker looked mightily chuffed when Messi made it 2-0.
Watching the game alongside Rafinha in the VIP box, Coutinho burst into a smile and began to applaud as Messi slotted home his second goal of the evening.
It must have been a delight for Coutinho to watch Messi at his brilliant best, especially after calling him “the best player in the world” recently.
The Brazil international was asked whether he fancied taking Messi’s famous No. 10 shirt, to which he replied, per the Mail: “No! No! No! There is only one No 10 at Barcelona.
“He is the best player in the world, the ultimate No. 10.”
BARCELONA ARE STACKED WITH TALENT
One wonders how Valverde will succeed in fitting all of his stars into his starting line-up.
Coutinho joins a midfield and attacking group that currently includes Messi, Suarez, Andres Iniesta and Dembele, who impressed after coming off the bench last night.
That said, every manager in the world would love to have such options.
Coutinho figures to be used often in domestic matches given he’s cup tied in the Champions League.
With a nine-point lead in La Liga, and a spot in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey, he’ll fancy his chances of collecting instant silverware at the Camp Nou.