For the Corinthians midfielder football is a box-to-box game. Commanding in the air, a strong runner and blessed with an astute positional sense, Paulinho is a genuinely versatile and pacy modern midfielder. Capable of catching opposing defences off guard with his late runs into the penalty area, he also tracks back and gets through his share of defensive work.

 

It is those attributes that have seen him appear on the shopping lists of Europe’s major clubs, an indication of how far he has come since the period between 2006 and 2008, when he was an unknown teenager plying his trade in Lithuania and Poland.

 

His days of anonymity now behind him, Paulinho is entirely at ease with the adulation he receives from one of the biggest fanbases in world football, while his displays for the reigning FIFA Club World Cup champions have earned him a place in the Brazil set-up.

 

“It’s been a really rapid rise, from an individual point of view as well,” he told FIFA.com. “So I have to make the most of this good period. Of course for that I’ll need my team-mates' help and I’ll keep working hard for them too, trying to help us win more titles as well as keeping my place in A Seleção.”