Paulinho viajó a China aprovechando los tres días de permiso que le dio Valverde

Paulinho: from ridicule to idol

OPINION

Someone wrote a tweet over the weekend: "I ask for forgiveness from Paulinho." It's the feeling among a good number of Barcelona fans now, who have seen the Brazilian's performances. Every time he has been on the pitch, he has done well, dismissing the doubts about him when he arrived: that he was coming from a lesser league, that he cost too much money, that he was too old, that he wouldn't adapt... That was the end of August and, at the end of October, looks like he came at a good price, has adapted well and is capable of making a difference on the pitch, offering something different to his teammates. 

As well as the energy we were promised in midfield, he's also proven capable of combining to perfection with his teammates, as one surprising statistic from the win against Olympiakos revealed. He attempted 112 passes, completing 109, a number worth of Xavi Hernandez or Andres Iniesta. But on top of it all, he also shows that he's quickly understand how the team works, how it's built to work for Lionel Messi, who has been the first to strike up an understanding with Paulinho. And, evidently, the Brazilian's goals are no coincidence, given he's shown an innate directness which allows him to break into the opposition area. 

The skeptics will say that the season is long and we still have to see what he can do in big games, but it's undeniable that he has come in and offered up performances immediately. Those behind his signing -- Robert Fernandez and Pep Segura -- who have been criticised a lot, deserve applause this time. When he came on the pitch against Malaga, Paulinho was given an ovation from the home supporters usually reserved for the starts of the team. Who would have thought that? And it's good news: Paulinho's passed from being ridiculed to an idol in hardly 10 weeks. That's how exaggerated things are at Barça. 

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