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Coutinho: I have to improve a lot to earn Iniesta comparisons – football news

Philippe Coutinho feels comparisons between himself and “genius” Andres Iniesta are not appropriate as he wants to be known for his own game.

Coutinho’s arrival from Liverpool in the January transfer window was widely accepted to place the Brazilian in pole position to be Iniesta’s heir.

The long-serving midfielder moved to Vissel Kobe at the end of the season and Coutinho has slotted in to take the former Spain international’s place.

But Coutinho, who like Iniesta has played in both attack and midfield, rejected suggestions he is following in the 34-year-old’s footsteps.

“Andres was a genius, comparisons between us are tough,” Coutinho told a news conference ahead of his Champions League bow for Barca against PSV on Tuesday. “I just want to be myself and win as much as I can here.

“I try to work hard regardless of my position and I work hard on every aspect of my game, I feel more of an attacking midfielder and I am comfortable on the left as this is where I’ve played the most.

“My goal is to improve at everything and if I want to be like Andres Iniesta I have to improve a lot.

“My first job is to make plays in the midfield, in the middle it’s more difficult as I have to hold on to the ball and help my team-mates.

“In attack I can contribute to more goals, but I will do whatever job the coach asks me to do.”

Coutinho could not play for Barcelona in the Champions League last term as he had already featured for Liverpool earlier in the competition.

Barca subsequently suffered a shock exit to Roma at the quarter-final stage, surrendering a 4-1 lead from the first leg as they were beaten 3-0 in Italy.

“It was tough for me personally and for us as a team because of the way we were eliminated, but this time we are determined,” Coutinho added.

“I wanted to help, but I could not. I was watching it on TV, it was very hard.

“Last year I couldn’t play and I’m looking forward to getting out there in the Champions League.

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“Barcelona fight for all the competitions but the Champions League is the biggest and we are going to go for it.

“We haven’t won it in a few years but we have the players and we are hungry to go out there and win it.

“We have to keep working hard and it all starts right now in the Champions League.”

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Tevez declares the one key difference between Ronaldo and Messi – football news

Ex-Argentina and Manchester United striker Carlos Tevez has gone on record to reveal the key difference between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Both men have won a plethora of major honours over the last decade on an individual and team basis, wowing audiences all over the world with their incredible exploits on the pitch.

During his time at Manchester United and Real Madrid, Ronaldo has won the Champions League five times, along with multiple domestic titles in England and Spain, not to mention managing to secure his place in Los Blancos history by finishing his spell at the club as their all-time record goalscorer.

Messi, on the other hand, has stayed loyal to Barcelona over the course of his illustrious career to date, after coming through the ranks at the Camp Nou at youth level. 

The 31-year-old maestro is a four-time Champions League winner and a nine-time La Liga champion with the Blaugrana and is also the highest scoring player in the club’s history.

The two men have shared the coveted Ballon d’Or award equally with five wins apiece in the last 10 years, as the eternal debate over who is ultimately the best player in the game has rumbled on intensely among fans and experts in the background.

Tevez has tried to shed light on that discussion with his comments on Tuesday, stating that he can only see one thing that sets the two forwards apart from one another, as he told reporters: “Lionel Messi, I never saw him in the gym. I’ve never seen him train to stop the ball or those exercises.

“It is all natural to him, but on penalties he trained: first he did not take them and now he shoots them all at the corner.

“Cristiano always stopped in the gym after training: for him it is an obsession and, being the best in everything, he always arrived at work early.”

The former United striker went on to add that no matter how early he tried to report for club duty, Ronaldo – now plying his trade in Italy with Juventus – was always the first one through the doors.

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“When the training was set for nine in the morning I arrived at eight and he was already there.

“Even if I arrived at 7:30 he was already there.

“I began to ask myself, ‘How can I get rid of this guy?’ So one day I arrived at six but he was already there! Sleepy, but he was there.”

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Ronaldo’s Juventus switch came as a surprise – Suarez – football news

Barcelona star Luis Suarez has admitted that he was surprised to see Cristiano Ronaldo leave Real Madrid in the summer but stressed that it makes little difference to his side.

While Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone believes the Portuguese star’s departure for €112m (£100m/$130) in the summer has drawn his side on a par with Real, Suarez has refused to jump to a similar conclusion.

The Uruguay international has admitted he did not see the deal coming but at the same time believes Los Blancos should be respected just as they always were.

“Obviously it came as a little surprise because of how good things had gone for him in Madrid, everything he had won there and how Madrid had helped him grow as a player,” he told ESPN.

“So it surprises you a bit, but that’s football for you. One day you can say that you are happy where you are and the next day things may change. It’s a decision which must be respected, it was taken for a reason.

“But we are in the Spanish league and we’re competing against Real Madrid, Atletico, Sevilla, Valencia, Villarreal and all the other teams.

“We’re not competing against one player. One player can make a difference or can make a team better, but the reality is that we expect to be playing against the best Madrid possible, against the best Atletico and against the best teams and players.”

The former Liverpool man spoke of the pressure experienced at a top club and said that it can be difficult to find time to enjoy individual successes.

Luis Suarez

“It’s not that Barcelona players feel a lot of pressure, but being at Barcelona limits the possibility of enjoying the match you won on Sunday because on Wednesday you already have another one,” he confessed.

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“And if on Wednesday you win a Champions League semi-final or a quarter-final, you can’t enjoy it because on Saturday or Sunday you have another game. It is the continuous pressure that you put on yourself to perform at an elite level.

“In the long run, you start to remember the good times. But many times you’re unable to enjoy the moment itself because you are competing at the top level of the game. But it’s also nice to live with that pressure because it enables you to live through incredible moments.”

Suarez expects to be back in action this weekend for Barca when they face Real Sociedad on Saturday

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