Barcelona midfielder Paulinho has revealed that Lionel Messi had a word with him to encourage him to move to the Catalan giants this past summer.
As reported by The Guardian, Barcelona completed the £36m signing of the Brazil international, with many raising their eyebrows over the move.
Following an underwhelming stint at Tottenham, coupled with time spent playing in China, many questioned whether or not he would be able to have a positive impact on Barcelona, but it appears as though he had one important admirer before he joined.
“Yeah. Ha ha ha … It’s true,” he told El Periodico. “It was in the friendly that we played against Argentina in June. I was prepared to make a mistake with Willian and another player I do not remember. Suddenly, I see Messi from behind, who is approaching me little by little and says: ‘Are you coming to Barcelona or not?’ He told me right before he missed. What did I tell you? ‘If you want to take me, you can take me. I am going’.”
The 29-year-old has wasted no time in silencing his doubters, scoring twice and providing one assist in seven games to begin the campaign as he has played an important part in Barcelona’s impressive start.
In turn, it looks as though Messi was right to pursue him and the pair, along with the rest of the squad, will now push on and try to enjoy a successful year amid plenty of talk and speculation over problems at the club at all levels, with president Josep Maria Bartomeu coming under fire too.