Paulinho weary of Al Ahli’s Brazilian duo

Much has been made of Guangzhou Evergrande's Brazilian connection, but ahead of Saturday's AFC Champions League final first leg, midfielder Paulinho has spoken of the danger posed by Al Ahli's South American duo, Everton Ribeiro and Rodrigo Lima.

Paulinho will face off against his compatriots in Dubai on Saturday as he looks to take a step closer to completing the domestic and continental double with Guangzhou.

The midfielder only arrived in China in the summer transfer window, ending a frustrating spell at Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur, and so while his knowledge of Asia's top clubs might not be extensive, he knows that Lima and Ribeiro cannot be underestimated.

“I do not know everything about Al Ahli, but I know Ribeiro and Lima are good players because I played with Ribeiro, and Lima I played against him when I was at Tottenham against Benfica,” said Paulinho.

“If Al Ahli have reached the final it is because they have quality players so we just have to see the team and how they like to play. I think we can have a good result on Saturday.”

The 27-year-old made just 15 league appearances in a disappointing final season with Tottenham, and has been given a new lease on life after former Brazil national team coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.

“My family is very good in China because for the last six months in England we were not happy because I was not playing a lot of matches,” said Paulinho, who was part of the Brazil squad that finished fourth at the 2014 World Cup.

“Guangzhou is a good city, it is a big city of seven to eight million people, and in these first four months I am so happy. I know I have a responsibility, but I will just try to enjoy life because we never know what will happen after.

He added: “I worked with Scolari with the national team. He gave me the opportunity to play at the World Cup and one week after he came to Guangzhou I signed my contract. I was confident because I could work with him again. He has given me the opportunity to play in two finals, the first one in winning the Chinese league and the second in the Champions League.

“I lost one semi-final in the World Cup and now have two chances to win the Chinese league and now the Champions League. I wont forget about the semi-final in the World Cup as it is impossible to forget, but football is good as you lose one year and then the next year you get two more chances.”

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