Brazil midfielder Paulinho has opened up on his decision to leave Tottenham for China back in 2015, and admits that the switch to Guangzhou Evergrande helped restore his confidence - and ultimately, opened the door to allow him back into the national team.
Paulinho has spent the last year impressing with Barcelona, but before arriving at Camp Nou, he spent two season in the Far East, rebuilding himself as a footballer after a torrid time at Spurs.
The Catalan giants were initially criticised for signing the midfielder, but some brilliant performances have repaid their faith in him, and now he sees himself in Russia with the Brazil national team.
Speaking on his decision to leave for China as a means of rebuilding his career, Paulinho explains how he needed the move for his confidence.
“The country opened its doors for me to regain my confidence in football and allowed my family to enjoy the city. I will always have a very special feeling towards Chinese fans," he said, according to The Sun.
“When I left Tottenham for China i knew I would be further away but my main objective was to play because I wasn’t playing and I decided to move on.
“I had to focus on something. I wanted to move on and in the future play again for the Brazil team.
“The most important thing was to focus on the game regardless of where I was. I knew I had to leave Tottenham when I wasn’t being used.
“I went to China where I became confident again, played at a high level and returned to the Brazil squad which was my biggest dream.”
Paulinho was a surprise key player in Barcelona's incredible run to the Spanish title last season, and will be an influential member for his country this summer - and it's all thanks to a two year stint in Asia.