Exclusive interview with Richarlison: the dreams of Brazil's new rising star
Fifty million pounds. The amount disbursed by Everton to take Richarlison from Watford was a surprise to many people.
After only one season playing for Hornets, the Brazilian was signed by Toffees in the last transfer window surrounded by doubts and crooked looks. But that was always like this for him. And it's no longer a problem.
The size of the mistrust was always commensurate with the speed with which Richarlison rebounded – and was no different in his debut for Everton when he scored twice against Wolverhampton.
In an exclusive interview with Richarlison, PL Brasil talked to the player about his meteoric career, difficult childhood and life in England. Check out the full interview!
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You always talk about the childhood you had. What was your biggest challenge in life and how did you start playing football?
I think the biggest challenge was seeing my family going through hard times. That's complicated especially when you're a kid. I would sell popsicles and candy in the morning and, in the afternoon, I would go to school. I tried to help my family the best I could. I started playing in my city (Nova Venécia), and I went to Real Noroeste, before taking a test in Figueirense, Avaí and America.
After standing out for America and Fluminense, you went straight to the Premier League – something rare for Brazilian players, who usually play for other leagues before going to England. How did you cope with this rapid rise in your career?
If you look at my career, it was all very fast for me since the beginning. When I left Real Noroeste, I went to play for America where I did not even play 15 official games in the academy before start playing for the first team. When things go like this, you need to be prepared. You cannot fool yourself, believe everything they promise you, or even think you've reached the top. I'm aware that there's still a lot left for me. I'm only 21, I'm just starting and I still have a lot to conquer.
When you arrived at Watford, did you face many barriers with the language and climate?
It's complicated (laughs). It's cold here, and I did not know a word in English. I still do not speak English well, but at least I already understand a few words. It's the things you need to face in order to grow and I'm very happy with that.
You started last season really well – and Watford's as well. However, throughout the season, the team started losing points. Is the difference between the big 6 and the other teams a reason for that change during the season?
I think it was a good season for Watford. At the beginning of the season, everyone was saying that we would battle against relegation. But we had a very good season, in my opinion. The problem was that the team failed to keep playing the same way it was playing in the beginning. I think it’s normal because it's a long, exhausting competition. In my case, I think the physical part was the reason. I had been in almost three straight seasons without taking a vacation and I felted that.
When Marco Silva signed for Everton, signing you was a priority for him. Again, it is a rapid rise in your career. What can you say about the Portuguese coach?
Marco Silva is a great manager and has been very important to me here. He is very attentive to the players, explains well whatever you have to do, he's almost a professor. I have no doubt that he will be one of the great managers in Europe in a short time. I've always played well with him and I hope I can repay the confidence on the field, delivering what he expects from me to the club and to my teammates.
How were your first days at Everton? Who are your new friends on the team?
It's been really cool. I was very well received by the club and also by the fans. It was very cool that, before I even played an official match, I had a song from the fans and that gives moral, right? Everybody's been really nice to me. I feel loved here.
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How far do you think Everton can go?
I think our team can surprise a lot of people. The first goal is to make a season better than last season and fight for a place in European competitions. But it is a team that can enter the Premier League as one of those hard-to-beat teams.
Who is the most outstanding player you have faced in the PL so far? And who is your best friend?
It is hard to say one name because there are a lot of outstanding players in the league. But I think who impressed me the most was De Bruyne. He was fantastic against Watford. We lost 6-0, at home, and we were applauded by the fans.
My best mate is Gomes. I chose him not only because he is a great goalkeeper but also because he is a great friend. There's Andre Gray too, who's a really nice guy. I think I got along with everyone so far.
Which stadium/ground is the coolest and which one is the hardest to play?
I was used to playing in English stadiums only in the video game. It's very surreal to be here and playing at Wembley, at Old Trafford … it's a dream. You cannot choose only one. The distance from the fans is very small, the stands are always packed and it's a lot of pressure. And I really like it.
Which fanbase did you like most in England?
Watford's and Everton's for sure. I was received with great affection when I arrived at Watford and now it was no different. Everton fans are very fanatic and, at the same time, very affectionate with the players. I hope we can reciprocate all that affection on the pitch, making them all happy this season.
If you could only sign one player from another club to be your Everton teammate, who would he be and why?
I think Neymar. He is a great player, an idol of many in Brazil, and I would’ve wanted the chance to play with him. I'm sure we were going to work really well on the left flank (laughs)
We asked for and you did the “pigeon dance” when you scored your first goal for Everton in the Premier League…
I kept my promise (laughs). The people here liked the dance, even asked me in the press conference about it. It is good that the I scored my first goal in the opening match. This gives confidence and even more moral. Hopefully more goals will come.
Do you have any funny stories about your life in England that you can tell us?
There's a story that Gomes always laugh and loves to tell people. I once asked him to help me buy some new clothes. He said he was going to take me to Diesel, I thought it was a gas station and I did not understand anything. After that, he told me it was a brand. Even today, he makes fun of me because of that (laughs).