SPORT: Football
Paulinho destroys a €600,000 McLaren sports car while enjoying his vacation.

Paulo Hen­rique San­tos — bet­ter known as Paulin­ho — hit a tree after los­ing con­trol of his super­car on a wet road.

The super­car slammed into a tree in Brazil­Cred­it: Unknown, clear with pho­to office
The 27-year-old, who plays for Chi­nese Super League club Shang­hai Port as a winger, escaped a seri­ous injury.

But the front of his McLaren 600LT is now off the road after the front of the vehi­cle was shat­tered and he was near­ly writ­ten off.

San­tos, who com­pared his style of play to that of Mes­si eight years ago when he signed for Span­ish side Cor­do­ba, has been iden­ti­fied after being filmed by a passer­by stand­ing in front of his dam­aged pride and joy under the rain in his native Cei­lan­dia in Brazil — where the acci­dent hap­pened while he was on vacation.

He told Brazil­ian media in an inter­view he gave along­side his glam­orous wife Daiany Naiara that he was already plan­ning to buy a replace­ment for the car he wrecked, which has a top speed of 204mph and can hit 100 mph in just 9.7 seconds.

The 27-year-old, whose full name is Paulo Hen­rique Soares dos San­tos but who is bet­ter known in Brazil by his nick­name Paulin­ho, said: “We are already look­ing at anoth­er McLaren. We have pho­tos and videos of the one we love.

His wife adds: “He real­ly likes this car and dreams of buy­ing anoth­er one.

“The one he crashed can be fixed, but they would have to import the parts and it would cost a lot of mon­ey to fix.

“It would also take time and ener­gy and Paulin­ho has to focus on his foot­ball and be a good professional.”

In addi­tion to the radi­a­tor and bon­net, the car’s fans were also damaged.

Local reports say it was worth around £467,000 and the cost of repair­ing the McLaren was esti­mat­ed to be around £145,000, equiv­a­lent to the price of 20 sta­tion wag­ons in Brazil.

The foot­baller, who joined Port Shang­hai in July last year after a loan spell at Por­tu­gal’s top side Por­to, has denied claims by wit­ness­es that he was dri­ving too fast when he left the road, and said the wet road with rain had been the prob­lem as he tried to accel­er­ate ahead of a slow­er vehicle.

He insist­ed: “Peo­ple have talked about me going 110 miles an hour but if that was true I would­n’t be here to tell the story.

“The most impor­tant thing is that I’m fine.”

Daiany added: “The road was wet and Paulin­ho was not going as fast as some claimed. It was rather because of the rain that the car skid­ded and went up the side­walk in the grass.

Paulin­ho made head­lines in Spain by com­par­ing him­self to Barcelona leg­end Mes­si when he signed for Cór­do­ba in 2013.

The Span­ish press report­ed at the time that he claimed dur­ing his offi­cial pre­sen­ta­tion that his style was “a bit sim­i­lar to Mes­si’s, but not exact­ly the same because of his pace”.

He said at the time: “I hope to give the fans a lot of hap­pi­ness and score a lot of goals to get us into the Pre­mier League.”

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