Philippe Coutinho believes that his treble-winning loan spell at Bayern Munich has helped him achieve his early-season form for Barcelona and Brazil.
Coutinho, 28, was previously a bit-part player at the Nou Camp prior to his stint in Germany, but has started all three Spanish league games for the Catalans so far this campaign under Ronald Koeman, having a hand in a goal in every match, coming at one every 72 minutes of playing time.
It puts the Brazilian (one goal, two assists) top of the club’s internal leader board alongside teenage prodigy Ansu Fati (three goals), ahead of captain and talisman Lionel Messi (one goal).
“I’ve returned to Spain with a lot of desire for things to go well, and it’s also what I want in the national team,” the Rio de Janeiro native told reporters after having registered another goal and assist each in Brazil’s opening 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier, a 5-0 win at home to Bolivia.
The attacking midfielder credited this form to what he picked up from his time in Munich with the record champions. While on loan during the 2019/20 campaign, he scored or assisted a total of 20 goals in 38 competitive appearances, one every 107 minutes, as Hansi Flick’s team swept aside all challengers to win the treble of Bundesliga, DFB Cup and UEFA Champions League.
Most famously, the Brazilian came off the bench to bag a brace and tee up a third goal in Bayern’s 8-2 European quarter-final demolition of his parent club.
He had previously won domestic honours in Spain and Italy with Barcelona and Inter Milan respectively, as well as the 2019 Copa America with the Selecao, but as well as the three winner's medals Coutinho took back with him to Catalonia, the forward also absorbed that Bayern mentality, or ‘Mia san mia’, during his loan spell.
Watch: Coutinho’s Bundesliga mixtape
“At Bayern, I learnt a lot about work, because they are very intense in training,” he stated. “A natural consequence is the evolution in the physical part, which I’ve really had, because you work a lot and I have worked a lot.
“I already had this way of thinking, but now I have to dedicate myself three or four times more than normal to be successful.”