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Philippe Coutinho quietly underwent surgery again

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The player has yet to see the pitch this year

FC Barcelona v SD Eibar - La Liga Santander Photo by Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Philippe Coutinho underwent surgery on his knee again, to help alleviate an injury which has kept him out for all of 2021 so far. The Brazilian’s operation was kept under wraps, as FC Barcelona never officially announced it - or indeed the first surgery he underwent.

The surgery successfully removed a cyst on his knee which was causing him to leak synovial fluid (a thick liquid that lubricates joints and keeps them moving), which in turn was causing swelling.

The intervention occurred in Qatar under the watch of Belgian knee specialist Pieter D’Hooghe. After the first operation, it was estimated it would take about three months for him to return. But following this second operation, the estimated return has been delayed and right now it’s not clear how long he will be out.

The secretiveness with which this operation was performed has formed a pattern for Barcelona. They did not announce Ansu Fati’s second surgery, and there is a lack of clarity about Pedri’s “miraculous” recovery (when he came back much earlier than prognosticated) and Gerard Piqué’s expected return.

Coutinho started the season well but started losing form as the matches wore on. Eventually, an injury sustained last December against SD Eibar has kept him completely apart from the squad.

The Brazilian is now linked with a summer transfer back to England, with Arsenal FC mentioned as a potential destination. It is understood that Barcelona will have to pay Liverpool FC an additional 20 million euro if he plays 10 more matches for the blaugrana. For all those reasons, it seems likely that Coutinho will not play many more games for the Catalans.