The Brazilian has spoken about his hopes for the future, including featuring at the 2022 World Cup and possibly playing in the English top flight
Bayer Leverkusen winger Paulinho is open to a move to either the Premier League or La Liga in future.
The Brazilian, 20, arrived in European football in 2018 with a big reputation having signed from Vasco da Gama for £16 million, however, a serious knee injury caused him to miss almost all of the 2020-21 Bundesliga campaign.
Paulinho is now back to full fitness, playing 66 minutes of Leverkusen’s final league game of the season, and has outlined his hopes for the future of his career.
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What has been said?
Asked if there is any country he would particularly like to play in during his career, Paulinho told Goal: “I will be prepared if an opportunity arrives. Spain has very good football, so does England. They’re top leagues. Germany as well, the Bundesliga is a top league with a very high level and every player wants to play in those big leagues.”
Having played 39 times for Brazil at U17 and U23 levels, Paulinho is eyeing a senior call-up once he gets more first-team action under his belt, and has his focus set on the 2022 World Cup, which is being held in Qatar next winter.
He said: “It’s not impossible. I think it’s possible. I’ll have one year before the World Cup starts, it’s a season. First of all I’ll be focused on doing a good job for my club and then the Selecao can be a consequence of that.”
After playing 19 games for Leverkusen in all competitions in 2019-20, scoring three goals, the season just finished looked as if it could be a major breakout campaign for Paulinho. He was named in Goal’s NXGN list for the 50 best teenage footballers in the world in 2018.
However, in training before Leverkusen played Bayern Munich in last season’s DFB-Pokal final, Paulinho tore the cruciate ligaments in his right knee. It would rule him out of action for an entire calendar year.
He said: “One of the worst injuries I’ve ever had, maybe the worst. It was a tough moment because I was living a good moment at the club, I was growing. It was a shock due to everything I experienced months earlier with the Brazil Olympic team and with the club. I had to evolve mentally, to focus on good things for me to recover well, without any kind of problem.
“I’ve recovered well and I’ve prepared myself a lot during that time. When I got back I was as happy as I could be, and now I want to continue this work so I can show I’m ready for the challenges ahead.”
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