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Paulinho Bezarra has had to overcome more than one hurdle in the path that has finally led him to FC Barcelona. For the Brazilian midfielder the obstacles he has had to overcome in his personal and professional life make his arrival at Barça all the more sweeter. In an interview with Barça TV, the Club’s latest signing goes into detail about his childhood and the challenges he has faced so far in his life on and off the field.
Paulinho reveals that is early years back in Brazil were far from easy. “I had a difficult childhood because my parents did not have much money to maintain us. We lived in a basic house and so in the beginning it was tough. For that reason, getting to Barça is a triumph,” says the midfielder.
The Brazilian international began, like so many of his countrymen, by playing futsal between the ages of five and 12. Despite everything, Paulinho could always count on the support of his family: “My mother took me everywhere for football. We didn’t have a lot but she always took me to training and matches and she did what she could to buy me the material I needed. I will always be thankful to her because she has been a vital part of my career.”
Unpleasant early European experience
Paulinho’s problems did not end when he moved to Europe to embark on a professional career when he was still a teenager. In 2006 he joined his first club on the continent in Lithuania before moving on to neighbouring Poland, however, the experience was far from positive. “It was difficult to settle as I was just 16 years old and I had left my family behind. Furthermore, I was the victim of racism so I decided to leave. In 2008 I left Poland to go home and when I got there I told my parents that I didn’t want to play football anymore,” he confesses.
However, with the support of those close to him , Paulinho eventually changed his mind. “I spent three weeks at home doing nothing. My club in Brazil got in touch with me and after a lot of talking and some psychological support, I returned to the game. Nevertheless, I did so from the bottom, playing in the fourth division,” admits the midfielder.
Highs and lows
From that moment on his career began to progress. Paulinho was happy again playing for Bragantino, a modest lower division club, and his performances led to a move to one of Brazil’s most famous clubs, Corinthians. There he spent four “spectacular” years, winning trophies and earning a place in the Brazilian national team.
A move to the Premier League with Tottenham Hotspur came along and began well before disappointment again set in. In his first season with the London club Paulinho was a fixture in the starting XI but in the second he featured less and in 2015 he decided on a radical change, signing for Chinese club Guangzhou where his confidence returned. “In footballing terms the first season was difficult because it was very different to the Premier League but I managed to adapt and feel like a footballer again. Also, my family and I had a nice, quiet life in China and we were happy,” remembers the Brazilian.
Whilst at Guangzhou, he had his first experience of playing against Barça in the Club World Cup in 2015. Now, two years later, obstacles overcome, he is now an FC Barcelona player.
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