PHILIPPE COUTINHO DELIGHTED TO CLAIM THE SAMBA GOLD AWARD

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Liverpool and Brazil attacker Philippe Coutinho is delighted to have won the 2016 Samba Gold Award. It was announced in December that Coutinho had been voted the best Brazilian footballer in Europe by a panel of journalists, current players, ex professionals and supporters.

The award was presented to him at The Reds’ Melwood Training Ground and a delighted Coutinho told Liverpool.com, “It means a lot. I’m very happy to know that this past year I have been recognised by many people. It was an important year for me and I’m very happy to win this award.

“It was a good year. As a team, we played very well and we managed to get to two finals,” he added. “Unfortunately, we did not win the finals, we lost. That was a very difficult time for us to deal with the defeat [to Sevilla] but this certainly made the group stronger.

“We started the season very well, at a high level. We all played very well, so, of course, 2016 was a good year. In the end I got injured, I missed a few games at the end of the year, but it was a positive year.”

Coutinho was voted ahead of last year’s winner Neymar Junior, as well as the likes of Thiago Silva, Marcelo, Willian, João Miranda and Dani Alves.