The Catalan’s number 10 approached the Brazilian during an international game between Argentina and Brazil.
Barcelona midfielder Paulinho has revealed that Lionel Messi asked him to join Barcelona while the duo were on the pitch against each other, defending the colours of their countries.
The former Spurs man was definitely one of the surprised during the summer transfer window, with many questioning the Catalans’ decision to bring him in from the Chinese Super League. However, he took no time to settle in and became a regular starter in Valverde’s team right away.
Speaking to Globoesporte regarding his transfer, Paulinho stated:
“It was in the friendly in Australia. I had a free-kick, me and Willian were standing over the ball.
“I was over the ball just to stand there, Willian was going to take it. Messi was far away. When Willian took aim I stepped back, he came over and said, ‘Let’s go to Barcelona’.
“I heard him and said, ‘If you want to take me there, I’m going.’ I mean, he is the best in the world and you hear words like that, it makes you happy, it makes you feel confident.
“Whatever the circumstances, playing alongside the best in the world is something I can tell my kids about. At that point I almost fell flat on my face but I kept playing!”
Paulinho, however, also gave a lot of credit to Paris Saint-Germain’s star Neymar, who also played an important part in his move.
“We spoke quite a bit when negotiations with Barcelona started,” the Brazilian added.
“He always used to say, ‘You could come here, you’re going to like it, you’ll be happy. It’s great here.’ Of course he was always trying to make that true. It would be amazing for me to play with him at Barcelona, with all these great players.”