Bayer Leverkusen’s prodigious Brazilian Paulinho may only be half a season into his senior professional career, but the 18-year-old is already planning to overhaul Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga.
Attacking midfielder Paulinho – a Brazil U20 international – burst onto the scene for Vasco da Gama last term with a direct hand in four goals from 18 games to help the Rio club qualify for the Copa Libertadores.
Nearly 6,000 miles away, meanwhile, Bayern were on their way to sealing a record sixth consecutive Bundesliga title, 29 points clear of Leverkusen, who finished fifth. Paulinho doesn’t think a seventh Meisterschale in a row is a given for the Bavarians, though.
"I have a different opinion," he told SportBild. "Bayern have a strong structure but Leverkusen also have huge quality. We have a strong team. It’s not written in anywhere that Bayern must be champions."
"Everyone has the same chance of winning the title at the start of the season. Of course I want to be a champion with Bayer."
"[the presence of young players like Brandt and Bailey] makes it a lot of fun training and playing together," he said.
"I want to be the best in the world, at least for one day. That’s my dream. I try to train and live in as disciplined a way as Cristiano Ronaldo, but there’s still a long way to go!”