Sunday, September 23, 2018 | ePaper
'Iron Man' Paulinho ploughs on in China
Barcelona fans were delighted that he left and at Tottenham Hotspur they called him lazy, but Brazil's Paulinho is on a punishing run of matches that has earned him the nickname "Iron Man" in China.
The international midfielder re-signed for Guangzhou Evergrande from Barcelona last month after Brazil's World Cup ended and was pressed immediately into action because, unlike in Europe, the Chinese season was midway through.
Combining games for Barcelona, Brazil and now Guangzhou, the 30-year-old best known in China as "Violent Bird" -- a nod to how his name is pronounced in Chinese and his style of play -- has racked up 69 games in the past year and had no off-season.
By comparison, fellow Brazilian international midfielder Renato Augusto at Chinese Super League (CSL) rivals Beijing Guoan has played less than 40 matches over the same period, according to the football data tracker transfermarkt.com.
Both featured at the World Cup in Russia, but Paulinho played through the winter and spring as Barcelona won the Spanish league and Copa del Rey, while Augusto and the CSL were on a break.