Ronaldinho – one of Brazilian football’s most iconic figures of the modern era – has backed his countryman, Roberto Firmino, to be a big hit at Anfield, and believes that his partnership with Philippe Coutinho will give the Reds one of the most exciting midfields in Europe.
Grading Liverpool’s summer transfer business thus far, with Roberto Firmino topping the class
Five down, four to go – why Liverpool are more than half-way to completing a perfect summer
Three potential Liverpool starting line-ups including new signing Roberto Firmino
The former Barcelona and AC Milan star, who also won the Ballon d’Or in 2005, believes that his successors in the Brazilian side will likely strike up a wonderful working relationship for both club and country.
In quotes taken by the Liverpool Echo, the 35-year-old explains why he expects the duo to lead Liverpool back in to the Champions League this season, while he also reveals his hopes for the young pair to achieve even more in the future.
“For Liverpool to have Coutinho and Firmino is a big achievement for them,” he said. “It is going to give them one of the most exciting midfields in Europe.
“The creativity, intelligence, and goals they have between them can change Liverpool as a team. It is a big sign of intent. To have a midfield with those two gives them a big chance to qualify for the Champions League next season.
“It is a dream for the Liverpool strikers to have that sort of service. If you can’t score goals in a team with Coutinho and Firmino in midfield then you wont score goals in any team. They will create so many chances.”
Former Reds midfielder Dietmar Hamann agrees. The German told the Echo that Firmino’s addition represents a ‘real statement of intent’ from the club. The 23-year-old is our fifth addition already this summer, and with more potentially still to come, the optimism is starting to sweep around Merseyside once again.
“I’ve seen a lot of Firmino and he’s a player I like a lot,” he said. “He’s Brazilian but he has played in Germany for a number of years and I’ve been impressed by how he has developed.
“I’ve spoken to people who have worked with him and they say he won’t be bullied. He has got more of a European than a Brazilian mentality. He is very skilful but he also has the strength and the mentality to survive in the Premier League.
“I watched him a number of times for Hoffenheim last season and I’m sure he will be able to handle playing in England. The Bundesliga is not a league where they don’t tackle, the games are physical.
“I played with Elano at Manchester City and from what I see and hear he reminds me of him as a person. He’s able to protect himself.”