Brazilian Richarlison is thriving in the World Cup spotlight



DOHA: Richarlison has always had a penchant for the dramatic, and the Brazil striker is relishing the chance to grab the spotlight at the World Cup after switching to a supporting role at Tottenham.

Having started his career at Tottenham this season stuck in Harry Kane’s shadow, the flamboyant Richarlison has seized his opportunity to be the center of attention on the world stage in Qatar.

As Brazil struggled to break down a stubborn Serbia, Richarlison scored twice after halftime as World Cup favorites opened their campaign with a 2-0 win on Thursday.

It was the 25-year-old’s second goal – a graceful scissor kick unleashed with Richarlison parallel to the ground – that suggested he was ready to emerge as one of the World Cup’s main lights.

Richarlison’s moment of magic against Serbia came after his World Cup dreams were drowned out when he sustained a calf injury while playing for Tottenham in a Premier League match against Everton in October.

“Four weeks ago I was crying, wondering if I was going to show up. It was worth all the effort I put into my recovery. Three sessions a day. I was determined to come to the World Cup,” he said.

Known for celebrating his often audacious goals by strutting like a dove, Richarlison hasn’t shy away from the limelight.

And with the absence of the star of the Brazilian national team, Neymar, from the stadiums for at least one match after suffering an ankle ligament injury against Serbia, Richarlison will be the main player in their second match in Group G against Switzerland at Stadium 974 on Monday.

Even without PSG star Neymar, Brazil coach Tite has several attacking options to choose from.

Richarlison, Vinicius Jr., Gabriel Jesus, Rafinha, Anthony, Gabriel Martinelli and Rodrygo are all vying for places in the starting line-up for the Celicao.

But unlike Tottenham, where he cannot play in his favored striker role due to the presence of England captain Kane, Richarlison has been given the heavy burden of providing Brazil’s main source of goals.

It’s a responsibility Richarlison is happy to take on as Brazil chase their first world title since 2002.

Richarlison’s dreams of World Cup glory were fueled on the clay fields of Todos Os Santos, where he first played soccer as a child.

After his parents’ divorce, Richarlison’s character was shown to be very driven as he sold ice cream, picked coffee beans, and washed cars to help his mother, who worked several jobs to support the family.

Rejected by Brazilian clubs Avai and Figerense as a teenager, Richarlison finally got his chance with América Mineiro before Fluminense and then Watford spotted his huge potential.

Brazil coach Tite rated Richarlison as the best ‘striker’ but those predatory instincts didn’t show themselves at Tottenham, where he struggled to justify the £60m ($72m) fee paid by Antonio Conte to eventually sign him from Everton. -season.

The return of just two goals from 15 appearances this season is far short of what Conte would have expected from a player who was prolific at Everton and scored 19 goals in 39 appearances for Brazil.

In Richarlison’s defence, he has had to play a broader attacking role at Tottenham.

However, even the striker himself admits that he is a more consistent threat for Brazil.

“I don’t know if you can smell a goal, but I score goals with the national team,” said Richarlison.

Richarlison, a Copa America winner with Brazil in 2019, may have noticed that his stunning volley against Serbia came in the stadium that will host the World Cup final on December 18.

For a player who dreams of emulating Brazil’s World Cup-winning strikers like Pele and Ronaldo, the iconic Lusail Stadium seems like a fitting place for Richarlison to carve his name alongside his country’s legends.


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