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Paulinho's pride

Posted on 21 May 2014  - 13:00

Paulinho has revealed he’s the toast of his childhood peer group ahead of this summer’s World Cup in his home country.

Paulinho on duty for BrazilPaulinho and Chelsea's David Luiz at a promotional event this week

Our 25-year-old midfielder has been a key figure in Brazil’s national side of late and is part of his country’s 23-man squad for the showpiece tournament next month.

Excitement is building in the Brazil camp, with their first warm-up friendly against Panama coming up on June 3.

And while Paulinho – born in Sao Paolo – has spoken of his personal pride at being included in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s squad on the biggest stage in world football, he hasn’t forgotten the group of lads he used to enjoy friendly kick-abouts with as a child.

“It’s my dream to go to the World Cup and now I have my big chance,” he said. “I’ve taken things step-by-step and now I have a great opportunity.

“I played when I was younger with my friends and now they’re some of my biggest fans. They say ‘I’m happy for you because you’re a player for Brazil. Before, when we were young, you played with us and now you’re playing at a World Cup,’ so it’s incredible.

“They don’t play football now but they’re still good friends of mine.”

Paulinho, who scored eight goals in 37 appearances in his first season at White Hart Lane following his switch from Corinthians last summer, admitted the tournament being held in his homeland only adds to the excitement factor.

“It’s going to be great to represent Brazil in Brazil,” he added. “I’m happy to stay in the squad and now I have to enjoy it and to help the Brazil team.”