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Santa Paulinho: "I Have No Bigger Motivation than Playing a Clásico"

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The FC Barcelona midfielder is hyped

Barcelona v Deportivo La Coruna - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Paulinho could start his first-ever Clásico as FC Barcelona gear up for a titanic clash with Real Madrid. So to prepare, he showed up on the front cover of Mundo Deportivo donning a Santa Claus outfit. No, really:

That’s the least-convincing Santa Claus I’ve ever seen. Anyway...

Paulinho talked about how he was excited to face Real Madrid:

I control my nerves very well. Many people ask me about my first Clásico. I'm used to doing things calmly and naturally. Knowing how big the match is, that it stops the world, I hope for it to be the first of many. I don't have a bigger motivation than playing el Clásico. We have to do our job, to win La Liga, we have to go out and win the big games. It will be difficult, but I hope we can go out and get a good result at the Santiago Bernabéu

On the possible advantage Barcelona would have (11 points even if Madrid win their game in hand):

A victory would give us a very good advantage, but in football things change very fast. Sometimes you win a Clásico and later you don't triumph in others. If that lead comes to pass, it would be a great advantage, but we have to keep winning until the end of the competition to win it.

He also talked about his haters:

Before coming here, I knew about the critics. In my whole career it's always like that, but I'm happy. I try to help my teammates and the team, but I didn't expect I'd adapt so quickly. My teammates have helped me a lot and I have to keep going, keep getting better.

Full interview: