London: Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paulinho has revealed that he almost retired from football after being subjected to racist abuse by fans in eastern Europe earlier in his career.
The 25-year-old Brazil international recently joined Spurs from Corinthians in a £17 million ($26 million, 20 million euros) deal, but his last experience of European football was not a happy one.
He first moved to Europe as a teenager, joining Lithuanian side Vilnius before moving on to Polish club LKS Lodz, and he said the abuse he received made him contemplate ending his career.
"I suffered from racial abuse," he said, in comments carried by several British newspapers on Sunday.
"In two particular games when I went out to play, the fans were making monkey noises and throwing coins at me and I just thought, 'I don't need to tolerate this,' so I made the decision to move on.
"I don't want to speak about the internal problems in Poland because this was still a team that helped me, but I went through a worse time there.
"There were problems at the club relating to certain individuals, but never in an interview would I speak about this. I don't want to speak ill.
"I lost hope, I lost confidence, I was basically stuck. And when you are in that position, that's when sadness comes.
"I did think about leaving football behind. I just thought I didn't need to do something that put me in these situations, so I went three weeks without playing and the reasons I returned to the game were mainly family ones.
"I felt a responsibility to my mum and my dad and I spoke an awful lot with my wife.
"She mentioned that my mum and dad had always backed me up and they always did everything for me and that I should return to football to fight for what they had given me.
"And she had said, 'If you leave football, what are you going to do?' And she was right. If I had left football, I would not have had anything."