Few expected Paulinho to have such an instant impact at Barcelona, but the Brazilian has shone since arriving from China and is even threatening to oust Ivan Rakitic from Ernesto Valverde’s starting lineup.
gainst Eibar and Girona and performed well.
The fact that the Brazil international was able to force a terrific save from Rui Patricio when he was substituted on in Lisbon means that Rakitic’s spot in the starting XI still isn’t safe, as does the fact that the 29-year-old has two goals and one assist in just 212 minutes, compared to the Croatian’s one goal and two assists across 802 minutes.
The other numbers do, though, go in Rakitic’s favour, as he plays more successful passes (one every 1.2 minutes compared to one every 1.7), wins the ball back more (once every 12.5 minutes compared to 16.3) and he makes more interceptions (one every 100 minutes compared to 106).
For the time being, the Croatian is still the coach’s preferred choice, but he now has competition for minutes like never before.