Published On: Sun, Jul 16th, 2017

Scolari rebuts rumours of tension with Barcelona-linked Paulinho

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Zhong Zhi / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Luiz Felipe Scolari denies reports that he banished Paulinho from Guangzhou Evergrande training following a rift between himself and the in-demand midfielder.

Paulinho, 28, has been the subject of interest from Barcelona while he enjoys a surprising career resurgence. He appeared to leave European football for good when he moved to the Chinese Super League in 2015, but it was perhaps his performances on the international scene that alerted Barca, particularly when he scored a hat trick in a 4-1 thumping of Uruguay in World Cup qualifying in March.

The Brazilian told reporters last week that he’d “not stopped thinking about” a potential transfer to the Camp Nou since the Catalan giant tabled an offer for him, but apparently hasn’t had his road out of Guangdong province paved by a fall-out with compatriot and manager Scolari.

“Paulinho has been training throughout the whole week and you saw how he played in today’s game too,” Scolari said after Saturday’s 2-1 win over Felix Magath’s Shandong Luneng, according to Reuters.

“I saw the report, it said I kicked Paulinho out of the training session. Actually, I sent Paulinho, Yu Hanchao and Li Xuepeng out to rest, but they only saw Paulinho.

“If they don’t think Paulinho is a professional player and that he would treat the game with such a negative attitude, they are beyond naive.”

Guangzhou chairman Xu Jiayin has stated that his club’s star turn isn’t available this summer, and declined Barca’s initial bid that was worth around €20 million.

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