Barcelona midfielder Paulinho has revealed his disbelief at where his career now lies, having rebounded from Chinese Super League isolation to scoring for Barcelona.
In a lengthy interview for the Guardian with Sid Lowe, the Brazilian reminisced about his past struggles and learning experiences and how he almost gave up on his profession.
"In Lithuania, they had racially abused me; In Poland, they hadn't paid me, and I thought: 'I don't need this'. I said to my family: 'I'm not playing football again'."
Then 19, Paulinho returned to his homeland in 2008, before being snapped by Andre-Villas Boas' Spurs five years later.
The midfielder stated his decision to leave the North London club after his game time dramatically reduced when Mauricio Pochettino arrived.
"My first game [under Pochettino] is in my position, but, after that, I played in every position apart from my own.
"I told him [when assigned to play on the wing]: 'This position is not mine, but, if you want, I can play there'.
"But in the long-term, you're not going to be at your best, and over the last six months, I wasn't playing regularly.
"I wouldn't say it was a relief to leave Spurs, but it was clear I had to. It was a difficult time."
At the end of the Argentine's first season in charge, Paulinho left to link-up with former Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari at Guangzhou Evergrande.
The Chinese Super League was seen as an early way out to cash-in on a career, but no-one could have anticipated a career revival, let alone at one of the biggest clubs in the world.
Already in his late twenties and arriving from a league of lesser quality, after supposedly flopping at a more prestigious one, many were surprised by the transfer for a reported €40m.
"If someone had said then [in 2008] that I would be preparing to play in the World Cup and at Barcelona, I would have said: 'Never!' Never, never."
Paulinho is currently the highest-scoring midfielder in La Liga with six goals, which defies all logic after his career nosedive, helping the Catalans to a long, undefeated streak, which looks set to be put to the test in Saturday's Clasico.