Who is Paulinho, world's up-and-coming footballers?
|Photo: The Statesman|
José Paulo Bezerra Maciel Júnior, commonly known as Paulinho (born 25 July 1988), is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for the Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande.
Childhood and Youth
José Paulo Bezerra Maciel Júnior was born on July 25, 1988, in the Brazilian city São Paulo. The boy took up sports at five when his parents took him to the five-a-side club. Portuguesa coaches noticed the young player’s first accomplishments and offered Paulinho to join their team.
At 11, the boy’s tastes changed: he took an interest in the classical soccer. He had discussed this issue with his parents and transferred to Pão de Açúcar (today, Audax).
As he achieved his goals, Paulinho remembered his parents welcomed his desire to play. Sometimes, the father had no money for fuel: the man gave all his finances to cover his son’s transport expenses. The boy’s mother worked as a supermarket administrator, and the father who should have retired continued to work in São Paulo prefecture, according to 24Celebs.
Paulinho does not like talking about his first relationship. He met the young woman whose name remains unknown at the age of 17. She accompanied the player in Lithuania and Poland; soon after they returned to Brazil, she gave birth to their daughter. In a while, the couple split up.
In 2011, the player married Barbara Cartaxo; in the same year, their daughter was born. In 2017, Barbara gave birth to the twins Zé Pedro and Sofia.
|Paulinho and his wife. Photo: 24celebs|
Paulinho began his playing career with Pão de Açúcar, joining the youth squad in 2004. After failing to break through into the first team, Paulinho joined Lithuanian side FC Vilnius in 2006. He played well for the club during his two seasons in Lithuania, scoring five goals from 38 domestic appearances, but at the end of the 2007 LFF Lyga campaign, FC Vilnius were relegated to the second division and Paulinho left the club where he moved to Poland, signing for Ekstraklasa side ŁKS Łódź. Following one season in Poland where Paulinho made 17 league appearances, he returned to Brazil and his first club Pão de Açúcar in the summer of 2008. After a single successful season, Paulinho was on the move again, joining Série B side Bragantino in 2009.
In 2009, playing for Bragantino, he was signed by Corinthians. His first league goal for the club came on 30 May 2010, coming off the bench to score Corinthians's fourth goal, sealing a 4–2 win over state rivals Santos. He would eventually go on to win important competitions with the São Paulo side, such as the 2011 Brasileirão and the 2012 Copa Libertadores, cementing himself as a hero for his club. Along the way to the Copa Libertadores final, Paulinho netted the only goal of the two-legged quarter-final tie against fellow Brazilian side Vasco da Gama, scoring in the 87th minute of the second leg on 23 May 2012 to send Corinthians into the semi-finals.
On 6 July 2013, Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur confirmed the signing of Paulinho after he successfully completed his medical for a fee reported to be just under £17 million. This was the club's record transfer fee at the time. He made his Premier League debut on 18 August 2013 against Crystal Palace, eventually being named Man of the Match in which Tottenham won 1–0 away thanks to a Roberto Soldado penalty.
On 30 June 2015, Paulinho joined Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande for €14 million (£9.9 million), signing a four-year deal. On 25 August 2015, Paulinho scored his first goal for Guangzhou with a 35-yard free-kick in the first leg of a 2015 AFC Champions League knock-out stage match against Japanese side Kashiwa Reysol. In January 2017, Paulinho extended his contract with Guangzhou until 31 December 2020.
|Paulinho. Photo: Transfermarkt|
On 14 August 2017, Barcelona announced a deal with Guangzhou Evergrande for the purchase of Paulinho for €40 million. On 16 September 2017, he scored his first goal for Barcelona in a 2–1 win over Getafe, after coming on for Ivan Rakitić in the 77th minute. Paulinho became one of Barcelona's key players at that time. He finished the season with 9 goals in 49 appearances.
Return to Guangzhou Evergrande
On 8 July 2018, Guangzhou Evergrande re-signed Paulinho on a one-year loan deal. The club also agreed to an option to purchase Paulinho after the loan expires. He made his return debut on 18 July, playing the whole match in a 4–0 home win over Guizhou Hengfeng. On 29 July, he scored in his second league match in a 5–0 home win over Chongqing Dangdai Lifan.
On 4 January 2019, Guangzhou Evergrande exercised the purchase option and signed Paulinho for €42 million.
Paulinho joined celebrations during the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. Paulinho made his debut for the Seleção on 14 September 2011 in the first leg of the 2011 Superclásico de las Américas against rivals Argentina in Córdoba, with the game ending in a goalless draw. His first goal for his international side came against Argentina a year later on 20 September 2012, when he netted Brazil's equalizing goal in an eventual 2–1 in the first leg of the 2012 Superclásico de las Américas.
2013 Confederations Cup
Paulinho was selected by Luiz Felipe Scolari for the 23-man Brazil squad for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup held in his home country. For his efforts throughout the tournament, Paulinho received the Bronze Ball as the competition's third-best player.
2014 World Cup
On 2 June, he was named in manager Scolari's 23-man squad that would participate at the 2014 World Cup on home soil. On 8 July, he appeared as a second-half substitute in the 7–1 semi-final defeat to eventual champions Germany. Four days later, he started in the bronze medal match against the Netherlands, which ended in a 3–0 loss.
2018 World Cup
In the qualifiers for 2018, World Cup Paulinho scored his first-ever career hat-trick in a match away against Uruguay. Brazil had initially gone behind but came back for the first time anyone had won in Uruguay since the qualifying round had started. In May 2018 he was named in Tite's final 23 man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. On 27 June, he scored in Brazil's final group match, a 2–0 win over Serbia, to send his team through to the knock-out stages of the competition.
Style of play
|A quick, hard-working, and energetic midfielder, Paulinho has been described as a box-to-box midfielder, with powerful running and good movement into the box. He also offers a useful presence in set-piece situations at both ends of the pitch. Possessing good feet, physical strength, good ball-winning abilities, and an eye for goal from midfield, as well as a strong positional sense and an ability to start attacking plays after breaking down possession, he is a well-rounded player who is capable of playing in several midfield positions, and has also been used as a central or defensive midfielder.|
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