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INSIDER: Nike pressure Barcelona to play out-of-form Coutinho

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Nike are putting pressure on Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde to play Philippe Coutinho, it has been claimed.

Okdiario’s chief pundit Eduardo Inda, speaking with El Chiringuito, says Nike are pushing for Coutinho to be played more by Valverde.

The Brazil midfielder has struggled for a regular start this season, with Valverde’s coaching staff admitting publicly he is not at the same standards as last season.

And Inda has revealed: “Coutinho is playing almost by decree. This is a matter of brands, Barcelona is sponsored by Nike and they pay €100m a year to the club.

“Coutinho is the top player of Nike in Barcelona with (Gerard) Piqué and (Sergio) Busquets and Nike asks that their big banner play.

“Coutinho is imposed. There are suggestions to play more than what is happening now.”

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