Barcelona ambassador and former player Luis Garcia believes Philippe Coutinho can have the same impact at the club as Neymar.
Brazilian midfielder Coutinho joined Barca from Liverpool in January 2018 for a reported fee of €105m after some protracted negotiations.
In addition, Garcia – who spent three years on Merseyside between 2004 and 2007 and won a UEFA Champions League, European Super Cup and FA Cup – feels Coutinho can make up for the loss of Andres Iniesta.
“It was hard to sign Philippe and to get him was a real bonus as he was an idol at Liverpool,” he told reporters in the United States where he is the club’s ambassador for their pre-season tour.
“The people there loved him but everything calmed down when their team reached the Champions League final.
“It’s true they had the attack covered with Mane, Salah and Firmino, but it was still a shock when we were able to sign him.
“Coutinho brings a lot to Barca. We are going to miss Iniesta a lot because we won’t see a special player like him for many years, but Philippe is similar to Iniesta and gives you goals, which you need from midfield.
“At times we rely too much on Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez and to have a player who can change a game with one shot is something we were not accustomed to seeing.
“Coutinho is different to Neymar but he can have the same impact at Barca because he can score more goals, or at least the same
“Neymar is eye-catching as he plays a lot with the ball, his runs are 50 metres, but when it comes to effectiveness they are similar,” he maintained.