The versatile Spanish footballer, Paulinho was born on 25 July 1988 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Known for his ability to seamlessly fit anywhere in the middle of the ground, Paulinho currently plays for FC Barcelona in the Spanish league.
Debut and Afterwards
Footballing days started early for the prodigy when he joined Pão de Açúcar’s youth team in 2004.
After being ignored for the senior side, Paulinho made his professional debut after joining FC Vilnius at the age of 18, playing in Lithuania’s top division.
Playing two years for the club, Paulinho appeared in 38 games while scoring 5 goals. However, Vilnius met its downfall when it was relegated to second division in 2007 before being ceasing to exist in 2008.
Paulinho then moved to the Polish league Ekstraklasa, playing for LKS Lodz. He could not make heads turn, making only 17 appearances for the team
His international debut for Brazil came in 2011 in Superclasico de las Americas, which is an annual football match-up between Argentina and Brazil. He netted his first international goal in 2012 against the same opposition.
Rise to Glory
Following his stint at LKS Lodz, Paulinho returned to Brazil’s fourth division league, playing for Pão de Açúcar and completed a successful season for the team.
He then transferred to Italian second division club Bragantino. Impressive performance for his team led to another transfer to one of the top most clubs in Brazil, Corinthians.
Paulinho grew as a player and the world gazed upon a new star. Playing three years for the club, he gave vital contributions when his team won the 2011 Brasileirão and 2012 Copa Libertadores. 2012 also saw Paulinho and has team winning the club World Cup by defeating Chelsea in Yokohama.
Having established his prowess in the Brazilian League, Paulinho moved to Premier League when Tottenham signed him for a whopping £ 17 million in 2013.
In an unexpected transfer, Paulinho decided to move again and joined Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao in 2015.
Paulinho performed brilliantly for the club, which won 6 titles including the Asian Champions League. As a result, Spanish giants Barcelona bought him for £40 million in 2017.
Consistent performances cemented his seat in the starting squad. Appearing 21 times for Barcelona, Paulinho has scored 8 times.
Paulinho performed well at the international level as well and was part of the team that won the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013.
Paulinho scored in the opening match before netting Brazil’s winning goal in the Semi Final against Uruguay. Paulinho was awarded the bronze ball for his efforts in the tournament.
Paulinho was on the verge of quitting his career after being unhappy playing in Lithuania and Poland. Being racially abused in Lithuania and not being paid in Poland, he had almost decided not to play but returned to Brazil to play in the fourth division league.
After not meeting the expectations at Tottenham, he was left out for most of the games which led to his transfer to the Chinese Super League. Many thought this would mark the end of his career but he managed to prove his critics wrong.
Having successfully played in 3 continents, Paulinho would be taking a lot of experience to the FIFA World Cup 2018 and would be hoping for a successful campaign.