Brazil midfielder Paulinho has left Barcelona to rejoin his former club Guangzhou Evergrande, the Chinese club have announced.
The 29-year-old will return on loan after just one season in Spain, with no transfer fee announced.
Paulinho played 34 games and scored nine goals as Barcelona won La Liga last term, and started all five of Brazil’s World Cup games in Russia.
He made 63 league appearances for Guangzhou Evergrande from 2015-2017.
Barcelona confirmed the deal on their website, adding that Guangzhou have an option to sign the former Tottenham man on a permanent deal.
A mainstay of Brazil boss Tite’s side in Russia, Paulinho scored once in the 2-0 group-stage win over Serbia and played 73 minutes of their 2-1 quarter-final defeat by Belgium before being replaced by goalscorer Renato Augusto.
He joined Tottenham for £17m from Corinthians in 2013, before moving to China in 2015.
Speaking about the move, he told the club’s official website: ‘The level of the Chinese Super League has improved year on year and the development prospects are very good. ‘After training in Evergrande and Barcelona, and following the Brazilian team in the World Cup, I got a good experience.
‘I chose to return to the Super League this time, hoping to bring more championships to Guangzhou and Guangzhou fans.’ Paulinho joined Guangzhou from Tottenham in 2015, scoring 22 goals and laying on five assists in 84 games, while he netted nine La Liga goals with Barca last season.
The deal is believed to include a mandatory option to buy at the end of the loan for £44million – more than Barcelona paid to sign him just 12 months ago.