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Tired, a broken foot - what’s going on with Paulinho?

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Barcelona v Celta de Vigo - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

After a bright start to life at Barcelona for Paulinho, the midfielder has seen his form dip recently and he’s come in for a fair bit of criticism after his performance against Chelsea.

The Brazilian’s arrival at Barcelona was widely derided but eight La Liga goals and two assists all but shut up his critics as he helped his new team to the top of the table.

However, Paulinho has not scored since the 4-2 win over Real Sociedad in January and his form has really tailed off in the last few weeks.

AFC Champions League - Guangzhou Evergrande FC v Pohang Steelers Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images

One explanation is fatigue and that would make some sense. Paulinho came to Barcelona in the midst of a season with Guangzhou Evergrande and has played a lot of football over the last 12 months.

Another fairly interesting explanation is that Paulinho is playing with an injury. According to AS, the midfielder has a ‘mini fracture’ in his right foot that he picked up in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-final against Espanyol.

Barcelona v Espanyol - Spanish Copa del Rey Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

To help treat the injury, Paulinho has brought in his trusted physiotherapist Caio Mello as he is still feeling the problem but wants to keep on playing as we head into a decisive part of the season, and with the World Cup on the horizon.

It remains to be seen if Paulinho is playing with an injury and if he is, how problematic it is. What we do know is that he’s made 35 appearances for Barcelona in all competitions this season, and maybe he needs a breather.