Philippe Coutinho will have to wait to make his Barcelona debut after his medical revealed his current injury problem is worse than feared.
The Brazilian is passing through the formalities of becoming a Barca player after his £142million switch was sanctioned by Liverpool over the weekend.
As part of the process, the Brazilian underwent a medical this morning, which he passed.
However, it was found that a thigh injury which had seen him miss Liverpool’s FA Cup tie with Everton last week will keep him side-lined for around another three weeks.
The diagnosis shows he was not simply chucking a tantrum to force his move to the Camp Nou. The failed medical does not put the deal under threat.
It’s a major blow to Coutinho who had hoped to make his debut on Thursday when Barcelona take on Celta Vigo in the Copa del Rey. His lay-off will mean he is likely to miss the La Liga games with Real Sociedad and Real Betis, both of which are away from home.
The Catalan Derby against Espanyol on 4 February looks to be his earliest prospect to play for his new club.
In a video message on 7 January showing Coutinho posing for photographers at the Camp Nou, he said: “I want to play, win trophies and make the supporters happy. Those are my objectives.
“Barca fans, I’m here now. It’s a dream come true!” Coutinho has agreed a deal through to 2023 and is looking forward to playing alongside Messi, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta.
He described them as well as club stalwarts Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets as “idols”.