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The Spurs defender is notorious for his lack of interest in football and admits he knows nothing about the club's new £17 million signing as he prepares for the new season

By Greg Stobart

Tottenham defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto admits he has never heard of new team-mate Paulinho as the club prepare to announce the £17 million signing of the Brazilian midfielder.

Paulinho, who starred for his country at the Confederations Cup, flew to London on Friday to undergo a medical and sign a contract to complete his transfer from Corinthians.

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But the 24-year-old’s arrival is news to Assou-Ekotto, who is notorious for having little interest in football away from playing the game.

“I don’t know what he looks like,” Assou-Ekotto told Goal. “I don’t know him, I don’t follow this kind of news.

“It’s like two or three years ago, Rafael van der Vaart was there in training one day. I said hello to him but I didn’t know he was Rafael van der Vaart.

“I don’t understand people who don’t understand me [not showing an interest in football]. Most people don’t go back home with their job and it’s the same for me.”

Assou-Ekotto will fly to Africa on Saturday to help the fight against the disease known as ‘river blindness’ in his homeland of Cameroon caused by black flies.

The 29-year-old will return to pre-season training later this month and believes Andre Villas-Boas’ side must get off to a better start than last year as they target a top four finish.

“The target is the Champions League because it’s the best competition in the world,” Assou-Ekotto added.

“I hope this season we will start the season from the first minute because last year we had a poor start and when you see the results at the end of the season, we missed out by one point.

“This season we will have to be at 200 per cent focus.”

Sightsavers urgently needs support in its fight against river blindness. Visit www.sightsavers.org/250m

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