Paulinho relishing return as Evergrande arrive

Guangzhou Evergrande today became the latest FIFA Club World Cup hopefuls to touch down in Japan, and they arrived with a former winner pointing the way.

Paulinho, the Asian champions’ star midfielder, was part of the Corinthians side that caused something of a sensation in 2012 by upsetting a star-studded Chelsea side to lift this coveted trophy. And while repeating that 1-0 win in Yokohama will take some doing, the Brazilian admitted that he’s already thinking ahead to the possibility of facing this year’s hotly-tipped European entrants.

“This is obviously the second time for me at the FIFA Club World Cup and I’m very happy to be back playing at this tournament again,” he said. “I want to meet Barcelona here but, for now, all we have to focus on is training well for our first match.”

Avoiding a fall at the first hurdle was certainly the 27-year-old’s primary concern as he chatted upon arrival in Osaka. It is in the city’s Osaka Nagai Stadium that the Chinese side will kick off their campaign with a quarter-final against Club America on Sunday, and it's a match for which Luiz Felipe Scolari has them well warned.

As Paulinho said: “This is a very important game and our head coach has already told us that understanding and applying our tactics will be essential if we are to win.”

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