Champions League Known each other for 14 years
Neymar and Philippe Coutinho go back a long way.
The Brazilian duo will do battle in the Champions League final on Sunday, 14 years after they first met.
The two forwards first came across each other in 2006 when they were both part of the Brazilian Under-14s squad.
They hit it off straight away and have been inseparable since, but they’ve played against each other too.
The first time they faced off was in 2008 when Coutinho‘s Vasco da Gama met Neymar‘s Santos in the Under-17 Brazilian Cup.
Neymar scored a stunning freekick but Coutinho’s display made the difference in a 2-1 win for Vasco da Gama.
It was in that U17 tournament that Coutinho first caught the eye of Inter, who ended up paying 3.8 million euros to sign the youngster.
That same summer, Coutinho and Neymar were part of the Brazil squad that won the Trofeo MIC.
In 2010, both players got their first call-ups to the Brazilian senior squad, with Neymar making his debut against the USA on July 26 and Coutinho doing the same against Iran on October 7.
By the time Neymar completed his move to Barcelona in 2013, Coutinho had already played for their city rivals Espanyol before joining Liverpool in 2012.
When Paris Saint-Germain signed Neymar for 222 million euros in 2017, Barcelona brought in Coutinho to replace him for 145 million euros a few months later.
Those two transfers saw the pair become the first and third most expensive players in history respectively.
In the summer of 2018, the two forwards were included in Tite‘s squad for the World Cup in Russia as Brazil reached the quarter-finals.
Now, in the peculiar summer of 2020, Neymar and Coutinho meet again, this time on different sides, in the Champions League final between PSG and Bayern Munich.