As anyone who watched the Amazon Prime documentary that followed Brazil’s victorious Copa América campaign back in 2019 can attest to, Richarlison is not just another player.
The forward is a larger-than-life personality and one of the most relentless jokers in the group, but he’s also a hard worker and tough as nails. Two years on, the Everton forward is now stepping up to the plate and becoming the leader of a group, showing a new face.
Richarlison is currently with the Brazilian national team at the Olympic Games, preparing to take on Spain in the final this Saturday. It’s been a long summer for the 24-year-old; before travelling to Tokyo, he served as an important part of Tite’s squad for Brazil’s Copa América defence, eventually losing the final to Lionel Messi’s Argentina in Rio de Janeiro.
While Neymar is undoubtedly the top-dog on the national team proper, Richarlison has been stepping up with the Olympic side. He’s become one of 38-year-old Dani Alves’ most trusted soldiers and serves as the role model for more junior teammates like Reiner Jesus and Matheus Cunha. He’s not lost his sense of humour – just take a look at his Instagram feed – but he’s clearly a different, more mature, animal.
Richarlison has always had clear potential. Everton, of course, paid Watford a fixed fee of £38.28m to take him to Goodison Park in the summer of 2018, with then-coach Marco Silva going to bat for his former charge despite his numbers not necessarily inspiring. He had joined Watford the year before from Fluminense, whom he had joined from América of Minas Gerais 18 months before that.
Richarlison had registered five goals and five assists in his first season at Watford but quickly bumped up those numbers as soon as he arrived on Merseyside. In his first season at Everton he scored 13 goals and provided two assists, while in his second he contributed 13 goals and four assists. Punters at https://www.skycitycasino.com may still fancy him as Everton’s top scorer but league-wide he still has some way to go. Especially as his output notably dropped in his third season, partly due to the emergence of Dominic Calvert-Lewin as Everton’s undisputed leading man in the final third. He made ten goal contributions in a poor collective season under Carlo Ancelotti that saw Everton finish tenth, racking up seven goals and three assists.
Now, heading into his fourth season at Everton under the third coach he’s had since joining, Rafael Benítez, Richarlison is entering a crucial phase of his development. No matter what happens in Saturday’s final, he’s had the first experience of maturity and leadership of his young career, a summer of stepping into Neymar’s shoes as the senior man spearheading his country’s attack. That’s an intoxicating feeling.
Returning to Liverpool, representing a club that doesn’t even have European football to look forward to this season won’t be his ideal situation. But it’s where he is; his output so far in Europe doesn’t warrant a big-money move to one of the continent’s elite, especially not in a transfer market depressed by the financial fallout of covid-19.
But Richarlison loves Everton and their passionate supporters, and they love him. His grit and tenacity, coupled with his sense of humour and capacity for flair, greatly endears the Brazilian to the unfailingly full terraces of Goodison Park. He’ll benefit greatly from the return of supporters this term, so conspicuously absent since the world as we knew it shut down back in March of 2020.
Richarlison should realise that now is the time to put up the season he’s been threatening to since arriving in England. If he can reach the 20-goal mark and deliver consistently, bullying opposition defences the way he’s shown he can, opportunities will open up for him in the summer of 2022. Who knows; if Kylian Mbappé secures his desired move to Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain might even come calling to pair Richarlison with Neymar.