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Paulinho signs for Al Ahli after leaving China

Paulinho had two successful stints with Guangzhou that saw him win three Chinese Super League titles and the AFC Champions League, but parted ways with the club in June by mutual agreement. DANIEL POCKETT/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Former Tottenham and Brazil midfielder Paulinho is staying in Asia after signing for Saudi Arabia's Al Ahli, following his departure from Chinese Super League giants Guangzhou.

The 32-year-old, who also featured for La Liga giants Barcelona from 2017 to 2019, was one of the most high-profile imports in Chinese football in two separate spells.

First joining Guangzhou in 2015, Paulinho went on to win three CSL titles in his time at the Tianhe Stadium, as well as the AFC Champions League in the year he signed for them.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic saw Paulinho unable to join up with the squad due to Chinese travel restrictions imposed on Brazil, and the mutual decision to part ways was made last month.

With his free agent status, it did not take long at all for Al Ahli to swoop, with the four-time Saudi Professional League champions announcing his arrival on Thursday evening on a three-year contract.

Al Ahli are currently preparing for the new domestic season following a disappointing 2020-21 campaign that saw them finish 8th in the 16-team competition.

They will also not be involved in continental football in the second half of the year, having been eliminated from the group stage of the AFC Champions League back in April.