Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Paulinho 'considered quitting'

Paulinho has made a positive start to life at Tottenham

Tottenham midfielder Paulinho has revealed how his wife Barbara had to persuade him not to quit football after he was the victim of racist abuse in eastern Europe.

The Brazilian, now 25, was a teenager when he first came to Europe with Lithuanian side Vilnius before moving on to LKS Lodz in Poland.

While he impressed on the pitch, the abuse from the stands almost proved too much for him to bear.

"I suffered from racial abuse," he told several national newspapers.

"In two particular games when I went out to play the fans were making monkey noises and throwing coins at me and I just thought, 'I don't need to tolerate this', so I made the decision to move on.

"I don't want to speak about the internal problems in Poland because this was still a team that helped me, but I went through a worse time there. There were problems at the club relating to certain individuals but never in an interview would I speak about this, I don't want to speak ill.

"I lost hope, I lost confidence, I was basically stuck - and when you are in that position that's when sadness comes.

"I did think about leaving football behind. I just thought I didn't need to do something that put me in these situations, so I went three weeks without playing and the reasons I returned to the game were mainly family ones.

"I felt a responsibility to my mum and my dad and I spoke an awful lot with my wife. She mentioned that my mum and dad had always backed me up and they always did everything for me and that I should return to football to fight for what they had given me.

"And she had said, 'if you leave football, what are you going to do?' and she was right. If I had left football I would not have had anything."

Paulinho has made a positive impression in his first two games in English football following a summer move from Corinthians and opened his Tottenham goalscoring account in the Europa League play-off first leg win over Dinamo Tbilisi.

He is happy to have arrived in north London and said: "When the offer came I reviewed it with my agent, who knows England well and looks after other players over here.

"I came to the conclusion that Tottenham would be the right offer because of the environment and the league and the other players I would be playing alongside."

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk