By Michael Church
HONG KONG (Reuters) – Former Brazil international Paulinho has signed a three-year contract with Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli, the Jeddah-based club announced on social media on Friday.
The 32-year-old joins Al Ahli as a free agent after his contract with Chinese Super League side Guangzhou FC was cancelled by mutual consent last month.
Paulinho led Guangzhou to the Asian Champions League title in 2015 after joining the club from Tottenham Hotspur and initially spent two seasons in China, winning back-to-back Chinese Super League titles.
The midfielder moved to Barcelona in the summer of 2017 before returning to Guangzhou the following year and winning a third Chinese Super League title in 2019.
Paulinho is the latest player to leave a Chinese club because of restrictions put in place to combat the ongoing pandemic that have prevented those from overseas from returning to the country.
His former Guangzhou team mate Anderson Talisca signed for Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr last month while Renato Augusto, previously with Beijing Guoan, has joined Corinthians in Brazil.
(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Christian Schmollinger)