Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho did his transfer links to Barcelona no harm by tipping MSN trio Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar for the 2016 Ballon d’Or – snubbing Cristiano Ronaldo in the process.
The Brazilian has truly come of age this season, firing the Reds to Premier League title contention before suffering an untimely injury last weekend against Sunderland.
Coutinho’s performances at Anfield have reportedly seen long-term suitors Barcelona renew their interest in signing him to boost their own charge for silverware, with Neymar thought to be urging his compatriot to join him at Camp Nou.
And the Liverpool ace has made it clear that his admiration for the striker and his partners in crime – Messi and Suarez – is mutual, as he indicated the three ought to occupy podium finishes to be crowned the world’s best player.
“My top three players in the world are the MSN trio,” he told FourFourTwo.
“One is fast, the other is skilful, then there’s the top scorer, so they really complete each other.”
Asked whether his choices meant 2016 favourite Ronaldo – who won the Champions League and Euro 2016 with Real Madrid and Portugal respectively – had no place, Coutinho was unequivocal.
“Obviously there are others at Real Madrid too, like Cristiano Ronaldo, but those three [Messi, Suarez and Neymar] complete each other,” he said.
The MSN are set to go head-to-head against Ronaldo for La Liga bragging rights when Barcelona host Madrid in El Clasico this Saturday.