Barcelona's Paulinho has vowed to sacrifice parts of his own game to allow club and country teammate Philippe Coutinho to shine for Brazil in Russia, before shedding light on his revitalisation following his torrid spell at Tottenham.
The 29-year-old midfielder is expected to feature prominently in Brazil's World Cup campaign this summer, but his role will see him take a step back from the spotlight in order to allow Coutinho to be unleashed further up the field.
The responsibility of balancing a star-studded Brazilian lineup was handed to Paulinho directly from manager Tite, a role which the 29-year-old is more than happy to take on to further Brazil's chances of progressing deep into the sport's grandest competition.
“Tite asked me to be more of an organiser — to let others be free around me," Paulinho said, via the Mirror.
“And this is what will happen with this Brazil team. We want to release Coutinho because he has amazing skills. Tite wants him to be nearer the goal.
“This will happen in matches. It’s not a problem. I can do that job. All I want to do is help Brazil. And of course the manager decides who plays but in my opinion, Philippe Coutinho – he rocks.”
Paulinho's presence in Russia this summer alone is indicative of the transformation he has made on the field as many could have been excused for discounting the midfielder's chances of featuring for Brazil after a dismal spell at Tottenham which ultimately took him to the Chinese Super League in 2015.
Two-years after signing for Guangzhou Evergrande, Barcelona activated his release clause to signal a new and successful era for Paulinho.
On his time at Tottenham and the transformation in the years since, Paulinho said: “I knew I had to leave Tottenham when I wasn’t being used. I wasn’t playing, so I had to focus on something.
“I knew when I left Spurs I would be further away from the Brazil team. There was some lack of trust and criticism. I’ve had that at different clubs I’ve played for. There’s been some at Corinthians, Tottenham and even now at Barcelona.
“But in China I kept working at as high a level as possible because I was sure people were watching me. I became confident again.
“I played at a high level and returned to the Brazil squad, which was my biggest dream,” he added.