Brazilian legend Pele has recently said in an interview that he believes Barcelona new recruit Paulinho will surprise many of his critics this season.
Barcelona signing Paulinho from Guangzhou Evergrande for around €40 million this summer was met with massive criticism from various quarters, with many questioning the Brazilian midfielder’s ability to perform for the Catalan giants – given his poor record in European football.
The Brazilian had endured a difficult time during his spell with former club Tottenham as he failed to impress the North London crowd before eventually being shipped to China under unceremonious circumstances.
Paulinho’s time at Spurs was so bad that the 29-year-old was unanimously regarded by the fans as the worst business that the club ever conducted and given his poor reputation in North London, many were left baffled as to why Barcelona would spend so much money on him this summer.
After moving to China, the box-to-box midfielder seemed to have found his form once again and this can be testified by the fact that he was also able to score 12 goals in 29 matches last season. Nonetheless, the Spanish La Liga is in an entirely different level to the Chinese Super League and many remain skeptical regarding Paulinho’s success at Barcelona despite his recent revival.
Amid all the criticism, the legendary Pele has jumped to the defence of Paulinho by stating his belief that his fellow countryman has the talent to shine for Barcelona and added that the powerful midfielder will surprise many of his doubters with impressive performances this season.
Pele said, “I think Barcelona are going through some changes but Paulinho will surprise a lot of people with his strength and character,” Pele was quoted as saying by the Globo newspaper.
“Before he went to Barcelona, he went to China, but he had a lot of other proposals, including offers from Germany and Italy.”
In fairness, Paulinho has impressed for his national team regularly by providing goals from the midfield and in a recent World Cup Qualifier against Uruguay, he scored a stunning hat trick.
Should the Brazilian be able to successfully replicate his national team form for Barcelona, he will definitely be a hit at the Camp Nou – vindicating the risky decision by the Catalan giants’ board to sign him.