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Bayer Leverkusen’s Paulinho is ready to emerge from the shadow of Vinicius Junior

The story of the best Brazilian you've never heard of

He’s gone completely under the radar.

The world of football has a new darling and his name is Vinicius Junior.

The Brazilian was snapped up by Real Madrid and as such, big things are expected of the man being labelled ‘the next Neymar.’

I wonder what Martin Odegaard is doing nowadays?

I wonder what Martin Odegaard is doing nowadays?

Amongst all the fanfare over the wonderkid signing for Los Blancos, one man has been completely forgotten.

Whilst Junior was the posterboy of the numerous successes of Brazil’s youth teams, he was by no means working alone.

Paulinho (not *that* one), is a player who has gone largely under the radar in his home country.

Having played alongside Junior at international level, the 18-year-old was just as important to the Brazilian side.

Pretender to the throne

Pretender to the throne

He’s now ready to emerge from Junior’s shadow.

Having had the same footballing at Vasco da Gama as Romario, Paulinho is a player destined for greatness.

Making his debut just two days before his 17th birthday, the Brazilian became the youngest debutant in the club’s history.

One side who didn’t turn a blind eye to the potential being shown by the 18-year-old was Bayer Leverkusen.

New beginnings

New beginnings

The Bundesliga outfit forked out £18million to secure his signature, as Paulinho hopes to become the latest Brazilian to make his name in Europe.

Head Coach Heiko Herrlich signed the youngster to continue his track-record of developing young players, with Leverkusen now boasting one of the most exciting attacks in the Bundesliga.

Paulinho is the latest in an illustrious list of Brazilian trailblazers to have settled at the BayArena.

Ze Roberto, Emerson and Lucio all forged successful careers for themselves during their spells in Germany.

At just 18-years-old, Paulinho’s first season in Europe is expected to be one of adaption, as he gets to grips with the demands of his new league.

He will have the chance to showcase his talents in this season’s Europa League, with Leverkusen likely to give him opportunities against their group stage opponents.

He’s been used sparingly so far this season

He’s been used sparingly so far this season

Peter Arnholdt, a talent scout in Brazil, revealed that Paulinho will need time to learn the ins and outs of European football, likening him to ‘a diamond that wants to be polished.’

Arnholdt believes that whilst everyone is speculating just how good Junior could become, Leverkusen have secured a prospect just as exciting.

“Everybody is lining Junior up to be ‘the next Neymar’, and while Paulinho may not be as gifted, he’s more focused.”

Golden boy

Golden boy

Paulinho actually beat Junior to a noteworthy accolade last season, becoming the first player born in the year 2000 to score in the Brazilian top flight.

Although his pricetag might not have been as big and his technical ability not as high, Paulinho’s ambition could prove to be the difference in him reaching the very top.

Have Los Blancos bought the wrong Brazilian?



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