Paulinho Returns to Guangzhou Evergrande Less than a Year after Barca Move

By Jesse Pottinger, July 9, 2018

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It hasn’t even been a year since Guangzhou Evergrande’s former star midfielder Paulinho forked over EUR7.5 million of his own money to make the move to Barcelona, and he’s already coming back.

South China Morning Post reports that Paulinho played 11 months with Barcelona, during which he scored nine goals in 49 games and helped his team take home the Spanish Primera League champion title.

The former Tottenham Hotspur player fueled speculation that he might make the move after comments he made following Brazil’s World Cup loss to Belgium on Friday. He started in all five of Brazil’s games in the tournament, scoring one goal.

Both Barcelona and the Evergrande have confirmed that the Brazilian national will be coming back to Guangzhou, in what is said to be a one-year loan with an optional purchase of EUR50 million. His move to Barca cost the club (and him) EUR40 million.

Although it may seem like a bit of a demotion, the 29-year-old says his return to China was his own decision.

“The level of the Super League has improved year by year and the development prospects are very good,” Paulinho told the Evergrande club website, according to SCMP.

“After training in Evergrande and Barcelona, and following the Brazilian national team in the World Cup, I got a good experience. I chose to return to the Super League this time, hoping to bring more championships to Guangzhou and Guangzhou fans.”

Image via Wikimedia

In a lengthy article published in The Players' Tribune, Paulino describes his career before and after his time in the Middle Kingdom, noting that he was "in the grave" prior to his success in Guangzhou.

During his first run with the Evergrande, he played a total of 84 games and contributed 22 goals and five assists.

Even if you’re not a football fan, you may still be familiar with Paulinho, as he earned a reputation (and notoriety) both on and off the field during his time in China.

There was his unbelievable 40-yard goal against the Kashiwa Reysol, a gambling scandal with Japanese porn star Tsukasa Aoi and his parting gift of a Mercedez-Benz to his driver before leaving Guangzhou last year, among many other notable deeds. 

If the past is any indication, we imagine there will be a wave of new antics to come during his next season with the Evergrande.

READ MORE: Pandas Celebrate World Cup with Football-Themed Party in Sichuan

[Cover image via Wikimedia]

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