Tottenham midfielder Paulinho has spoken of the racist abuse that forced him to consider his future in the game.
Quoted by a number of British newspapers, including the Sunday Telegraph, the Brazil midfielder, who this summer cost Spurs £17 million from Corinthians, said he came close to hanging up his boots after his first stint in European football was tainted.
It was while playing in Lithuania with FC Vilnius and then in Poland with LKS Lodz that he became the subject of racist taunts that forced him to return home to Brazil to weigh up how he would provide for his wife, Barbara, and his young daughter if his football career was already at an end.
“There were two games when I went out to play, the fans were making monkey noises and throwing coins at me and I just thought: ‘I don’t need to tolerate this.’ So I made the decision to move on,” Paulinho said.
“I just felt I didn’t need to do something that put me in those kinds of situations. I felt a responsibility towards my mum and dad and I spoke an awful lot with my wife.
“She mentioned that my parents had always backed me and that they always did everything for me and that I should return to football to fight for what they had given me.
“If I had left football I would not have had anything. The reality was that as I remained at home I could not think of anything that could replace it.”
Paulinho rebuilt his career back in Brazil and has now risen to a prominent position in their national team, as well as securing a move to the Premier League.
“I looked at the other offers this summer, but came to the conclusion that Tottenham would be the right one for me because of the team, because of the environment and the league and also the other players who I would be playing alongside,” he added.
“The main aim for me and for the other players at Tottenham is to really aim for titles this season. Tottenham is a big club and we have great players here so we should be aiming for the top.”