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Richarlison: Our fans and Everton deserve Europe

The forward has been talking about his aspirations this season, and how much Brazil means to him

Everton v Burnley - Premier League Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

By his lofty personal standards, this season has not quite gone to plan for Richarlison. After forgoing a summer break to first lead Brazil to a runners-up position in the Copa America and then a gold medal in the Olympic Games immediately after where he was also top scorer, the 24-year-old scored once and assisted another in a comeback win over Southampton to start the season and things were going perfectly for him.

However, since then his shooting has gotten a little wayward and luck has appeared to conspire against him, with the forward picking up an injury after a heavy tackle against him by Burnley’s James Tarkowski. He’s been sidelined since then — just over a month — and though he’s been training on his own, he’s not been deemed ready to resume activities with the full squad.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Richarlison spoke at length about Everton, the Brazilian national team, his hectic summer as well as his informal ambassadorial role for the Brazilian people, with the player continuing to play a major role in raising funds and awareness for social causes back home.

On his ambitions for the club this current season, Richarlison is very clear.

“We want to take Everton into Europe and I hope we do it this season.

“Our fans and the club deserve it. Our challenge this year is to have a bit more consistency than last season.”

Last season Everton were in the running for a European berth under Carlo Ancelotti but the Blues fell away late in the season to finish in tenth place. While the Italian is known to be very easygoing with his players, current manager Rafa Benitez tends to push his team a lot more.

“Ancelotti is someone I’m so grateful for. He made me evolve a lot as a player and gave me a lot of off-field tips too, very valuable advice I will carry with me for a lifetime. He is extremely smart, with very well-defined ideas.

“Benitez follows the same line as Ancelotti. He knows very well what he wants from each player, is very demanding, and tries to get the best out of each one of us.”

Arsenal v Everton - Premier League Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Richarlison’s passion for his country is very evident in how he speaks and what he says. Representing O Selecao in two international tournaments really did mean a lot to the player, despite the eventual fatigue catching up to him.

“A happy ending. It was exhausting to play so many games, but I want to be in the national team whenever it’s possible. The Olympics have always been a dream for me.

“I didn’t want to miss this chance. Everton were really kind to let me play in Tokyo.”

Brazil are in pole position for World Cup qualification in South America, and the Everton player is very excited for an opportunity to play the greatest stage in the game.

“The World Cup is a dream. Defending my country against the best teams in the world is something I always wanted.

“I’ve been in all (Brazil coach) Tite’s squads since the World Cup in Russia, with the exception of the last two due to the quarantine problem and now a knee injury. But I want to come back even stronger after the recovery period, so that I can be in the squad and continue towards the World Cup.”

While his challenging upbringing has been highlighted in a number of interviews with the player since he first came to England, it is his continued work on the humanitarian front using his vast social media reach that is winning him fans.

“Brazil has a lot of social injustice. Few people earn a lot and millions are hungry, unprotected.

“I can’t normalise it. I have great visibility, so it became a responsibility to talk about this. When I got to the Brazilian squad, I chose to give the best message possible.”

In a recent interview Richarlison renewed his commitment to succeeding at Everton, going on to insist that if and when he left Merseyside, he would only go under circumstances that would be beneficial for both him and the club as well, and went on to thank the fans who have welcomed him as one of the Blue family from day one.

It is that kind of passion and commitment that has made him a fan-favourite, and in the modern, money-driven game, there’s not much you can ask for than that.