Paulinho: 'Racist abuse almost forced me to quit'

Spurs midfielder Paulinho in action against Crystal Palace on August 18, 2013
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Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paulinho reveals that he almost quit the game after suffering racist abuse during his time in Lithuania.

Tottenham Hostpur midfielder Paulinho has revealed that he came close to quitting the game after suffering racist abuse during his spell with Lithuanian side FC Vilnius.

The Brazil international spent a season in Eastern Europe before moving to Polish side LKS Lodz for a further season, but revealed that he struggled to settle in Europe during his first spell on the continent.

"When I went to Europe the first time, I suffered problems in Lithuania with racism," Paulinho told The Mirror. "For two particular games, the fans were making monkey noises and throwing coins at me. I just thought, 'I don't need to tolerate this'. So, I made the decision to move on.

"When I returned to Brazil in 2008, I went three weeks without playing football and I thought about leaving football behind for good.

"I lost hope and confidence. I was ­basically stuck for three weeks and, when you are in this position, that is when ­sadness comes, that's when depression might sink in and, of course, I lost confidence."

However, Paulinho's stock rose as he put in a number of impressive displays for Corinthians, which tempted Spurs to part with £17m for his services.

"It really is a dream come true to play for ­Tottenham in the Premier League," said the 25-year-old. "I looked at other offers from Inter Milan and CSKA Moscow, but came to the conclusion Tottenham would be right for me.

"My main aim, for myself and ­Tottenham, is to have a good ­season and aim for titles."

Paulinho is due to make his White Hart Lane debut in today's match against Swansea City.

Willian of FC Anzhi Makhachkala in action during the Russian Premier League match between FC Dinamo Moscow and FC Anzhi Makhachkala at the Arena Khimki Stadium on July 19, 2013
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