Barcelona legend Xavi has praised the impact of summer signing Paulinho, suggesting the Brazilian's experience and less 'complicated' style of play is benefitting the team.
Barça were heavily criticised for paying €40m to bring the former Tottenham flop back to Europe following a spell in China with Guangzhou Evergrande, but Paulinho has taken to Spanish football very well and has contributed several crucial goals.
There is little higher praise than approval from Xavi, with the four-time Champions League winner telling Mundo Deportivo, "He knows what he is doing, he is intelligent and does not get complicated, he arrives at the area, plays easy football and fits in well."
At the age of 29, Paulinho has had time to learn from past mistakes and Xavi feels Barça have found themselves a very good player, even if his style isn't viewed as an obvious complement to the typical tiki taka philosophy at Camp Nou.
"I already said it, if he was a player that Madrid had signed there would have been no criticism," Xavi declared.
"At Barça we are very neat at times, but look at his performances, he has six goals, he gave the victory against Getafe. He is a qualified footballer to play for Barça and he is showing it."
Paulinho will line up for his first Clásico this weekend when Barça meet Real on Saturday.
"I'm optimistic, I think Barça is better than Real Madrid," Xavi said of the game. "I see Barça capable of playing a good game and winning, capable of controlling the game because Valverde has given the team a lot of balance," he explained.
"Barça have played with an extra midfielder in the last few games, that means [Valverde] wants to have the ball and dominate the game."