Paulinho's transfer to Barcelona was one of the more surprising moves of the summer.
Widely seen as having underachieved at Tottenham, the Brazilian's move to the Camp Nou from Guangzhou Evergrande was met with derision.
In an interview with El Periodico, the Brazilian admitted the move did not come as a surprise. He was sounded out about the move months previously.
Argentina defeated Brazil in June in a Melbourne friendly,and Paulinho admitted that Lionel Messi tried to coax him to Barcelona mid-match.
It was in the friendly that we played against Argentina in June. I was prepared to make a free-kick with Willian and another player I do not remember. Suddenly, I see Messi from behind, who is approaching me little by little and says: 'Do you want to go to Barcelona or not?' He told me right before the free-kick.
What did I tell him? 'If you want to take me, you can take me. I am going'. I was so nervous that I said to Willian, 'You're missing it!' After the game, I was able to exchange shirts with him.
Always be selling Lionel. Always be selling.
It also shows how seriously the game was taken in Australia, if one player is trying to convince another to move clubs.
Paulinho's spell at Barcelona has been better than expected. He has already scored twice in the league. Maybe it's all down to his good friend Lionel.