With Barca unbeaten after 18 league matches and already nine points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top of the La Liga table, Simeone fears Coutinho’s arrival could end LaLiga title race.

“It’s healthy and important that someone has the chance to sign players like Coutinho, although he can’t play in the Champions League.”

“It makes LaLiga much stronger,” the Atletico boss told a news conference.

“With the gap that Barcelona have, it’s a very important step.”

Coutinho completed his transfer to Barcelona on Monday for a reported fee of €160million, a record for biggest fee ever paid by a team from Spain.

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