Paulinho: ‘I turned down Inter’

Brazil midfielder Paulinho revealed he turned down a move to Inter in 2011, as he was given only “15 minutes” to give an answer.

The Barcelona man eventually came to Europe for Tottenham Hotspur two years later, then Guangzhou Evergrande before switching to Camp Nou in 2017.

“I climbed from the Fourth Division to the Second Division and then to the First Division with Corinthians,” Paulinho told The Players Tribune.

Brazil midfielder Paulinho revealed he turned down a move to Inter in 2011, as he was given only “15 minutes” to give an answer.

The Barcelona man eventually came to Europe for Tottenham Hotspur two years later, then Guangzhou Evergrande before switching to Camp Nou in 2017.

“I climbed from the Fourth Division to the Second Division and then to the First Division with Corinthians,” Paulinho told The Players Tribune.

“It was there that I met a man who changed my life and became like a second father to me — Professor Tite. I get emotional when I speak about Tite, because we are connected in a way that is about more than football.

“He would look me in the eye, and he would know when I was fine, and when I was not doing good. We didn’t even have to say any words.

“There’s a funny story that not a lot of people know about that explains our relationship. Of course, we had a fantastic season at Corinthians in 2011. We won the Campeonato Brasileiro, so there were offers coming in for a lot of our players, and Inter Milan wanted to sign me.

“However, it was some crazy situation where my agent called me and said that Inter needed an answer in 15 minutes. This was right before training, so I ran to Tite’s office and I told him what was happening, and I said, ‘Boss, I don’t know … It’s Inter. It’s one of the biggest clubs in the world.’

“And Tite said, ‘Look, the decision is yours. Of course I want you to stay, but it’s your life. You go to the locker room and think about it. And when you decide, come out to the field. If you’re going to stay, you make this gesture (thumbs up) And if you’re going to leave, you make this gesture (thumbs down). That’s how I’ll know.’

“I called my agent and I told him my decision, and he said, ‘Are you sure?!’ I said, ‘I’m sure.’

“I walked out onto the field, and Tite sees me, and I waited two seconds just to add some drama, and then I gave him the thumbs up that I was going to stay.

“And he sighed and said, ‘God, I thought you were going to leave!’”

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