The Richarlison Remontada

It’s no secret that Richarlison struggled at the beginning of his Spurs career. He needed help and sought therapy, struggling through injuries, and didn’t have a regular position under Antonio Conte. However, since November Richarlison has been one of the league’s most consistent performers, after his brace against his former club Everton, his goal tally is now up to 10 for this premier league season, with an additional goal in Spurs’ only Carabao Cup appearance this season. 

The Brazilian was key in Everton’s survival story in the 21/22 season, scoring 10 goals with 5 assists in a relatively uninspiring Everton attack. He scored crucial goals against Crystal Palace and Chelsea at Goodison Park during Frank Lampard’s reign with the club. 

Richarlison loved Everton and the Everton faithful loved him back, becoming a fan favourite. The striker has revealed it was a struggle to play every week through the pain, to ensure the club he loves does not drop to the Championship. During this time, he was preparing for the Copa America and Olympics back-to-back in the summer, and he wanted nothing more than to participate in both. “I was exhausted. I lost weight, and I could barely play an entire game” the Brazilian explained, “My body was asking me to stop.”

He knew the importance of the Crystal Palace game as it was their last home game of the season. Richarlison scored in a 3-2 win for Everton keeping them up after being 2-0 down in the first half. 

Playing for Brazil has always been a huge thing for Richarlison and he knows the privilege of wearing it, especially while wearing the famous number 9, an opportunity he has been given often. Richarlison participated in both tournaments for Brazil in the summer after keeping Everton in the Premier League, winning Gold at the Olympics, while also becoming the first-ever premier league player to score a hat-trick in the tournament.  Brazil reached the final of the Copa America, where they lost 1-0 to Lionel Messi and Argentina. Richarlison could not replicate his 2019 success when he scored in the 2019 Copa America final in a 3-1 victory.

Spurs then brought the striker for a fee of approximately £60 million after impressive seasons in Merseyside, and important performances for Brazil. However, it wasn’t an easy transition. The striker spent the majority of the season on the bench under Antonio Conte who was the man who wanted the Brazilian, making occasional appearances on the Left or Right-wing, filling in where he can but never really seeing him in his best position. Making 19 Premier League appearances with just 4 of them being a Striker. (3 Left-Wing, 8 Right Wing, 4 Attacking Midfield – Transfermarkt) The Brazilian also openly admitted to falling out with the Italian as he disagreed with his formation and Emerson Royal recently told the media how during a team meeting Richarlison refused to say sorry and told Conte he should get more minutes.

The striker went through a hard time with Conte with his confidence being at an all-time low, which was clear through his breakdown after Brazil beat Bolivia in September and having squandered a few big chances, it was clear that something was not right.

Tottenham therefore recommended therapy to Richarlison to recover his mind. At the beginning of his time at Tottenham he was in a rut, he went to training and then went home to lock himself away. Today Richarlison is very open about his mental state throughout his time at Tottenham, openly talking about his struggles to get to how he is performing today. Richarlison has spoken about his surgery before the World Cup, explaining how lonely the experience was and describing the pain as “absurd”. He explained how he spent hours crying after the surgery. With the World Cup only a month away that was only half the worry for Richarlison as he described missing the World Cup as being “impossible”. 

Richarlison was lonely, he needed support and a confidence boost. In the physio room, the striker had a lot of time to reflect. He reflected on the pride of wearing the number 9 for club and his country just like his idols Ronaldo, Careca, Reinaldo and Tostão. Representing his hometown Nova Venécia on the biggest stage gave him that further boost. Remembering his father described the World Cup as a “magic world” reminded Richarlison how special the competition is, how the divide between rich and poor is reduced, and how it brings Brazil together as one.

After his MRI, Richarlison also thought back to his youth in Brazil, where at the young age of 11 he was surrounded by kids selling and hiding drugs in his garden. He explained how hard it was to resist joining them after seeing how much money they were making, especially when his family was so deprived. One time after playing football, he had a gun held to his head by guys telling him not to sell drugs in that area. At 16 his parents split. His mother moved in with someone new who didn’t want him around. All of a sudden the 16-year-old was without a home. He considered moving in with his father in the city but he knew this meant giving up football. To fight for his dream the teenager chose to move in with his uncle on a thin mattress. While at football school Richarlison’s coach took him for a trial at America Minero. Life began to improve for Richarlison. Soon after he moved to Fluminese quickly followed by a move to the Premier League joining Watford.

Richarlison scored 3 times and registered an assist at the 2022 World Cup, with a goal and assist coming against teammate Heung Min Son and Korea, in the round of 16 to send Brazil to the Quarter Finals where they crashed out to Croatia on penalties. The striker played 70 minutes of the Quarterfinal tie, where his body was giving up on him. At half-time, the striker needed bandages and pills to get him through the pain. The striker could do nothing but feel overwhelmed with sadness at the end of the game. His and Brazil’s campaign was over but he knew he had done all he could, and left everything on the pitch. After the tournament, it took 30 days to recover physically and mentally and again he was in the Physio at Tottenham training ground.

The Brazilian has proven he has a lot to offer at Tottenham and is now showing his importance after a difficult first 15 months in North London. The striker is a pressing machine, working all over the pitch to win possession and feed the creative players in Ange’s team.


Artwork by Charbak Dipta

Before February 10th Richarlison had scored in 7 out of his last 8 matches played in the Premier League for Spurs, with his only blank being in the 4-2 defeat at the Amex toward the end of December. In those 8 games he scored 9 times, the best scoring streak in his career. Richarlison has overperformed his xG by 1.4 this season totalling 8.6xG so far, showing the quality of some of his finishes, with difficult chances like his goals against Newcastle (2nd), Manchester United and Everton (Both). And his ability to strike on both feet and in the air certainly helps. He scored 4 on his left, 3 on his right and 4 in the air this season, again proving his ability to make do with what he is given.

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The striker also has brilliant defensive stats compared to other number 9’s in the league averaging 1.44 tackles, 0.46 interceptions and 1.8 blocks per 90. And his ability to score with just one or two touches is seriously effective with how Tottenham play. He has the lowest touches-per-shot ratio in the league with just 1.37, this of course is no coincidence. 

Through his brilliant pressing and positioning, Richarlison is looking like a key asset to this new Spurs side, it will be interesting to see who lines up in Spurs’ front 3 next to Heung Min Son next season, with Kulusevski being rather out of form, Johnson and Richarlison being relatively unproven and Werner only currently on loan and very early into his Spurs days. 

Before the season when Kane moved to Germany, a lot of people were writing Spurs off as a player of his quality is impossible to replace, especially as the replacement forward had just scored 1 Premier League goal the season prior. Now in March Spurs are in a top 4 race which no one would have predicted in the summer, and scoring has not looked like an issue all season, with Tottenham scoring in every single game played this season (except FA cup defeat to Manchester City in late January.)

The Brazilian has nowhere near the quality England’s star man possesses, with Kane being one of the Premier League’s best-ever forwards. Richarlison plays a different game to Kane and brings the 3 players behind him into the game significantly. He fills space very effectively and allows players like Son, Kulusevski and Maddison to thrive and bring out their best abilities. Kane was the focal point of the team, everything went through him and if he wasn’t performing it was very rare Spurs would get a result. With Richarlison he ties the team together with his hold-up, link-up and defensive plays, lifting everyone around him and their game.

Ange has been crucial to Richarlisons rise in form. He has taken a completely different approach compared to what Conte had with him. He has been patient and stuck with him through his tough mental battle and is now reaping the rewards. Conte didn’t have this patience, when Richarlison wasn’t completely ready, he would slate him in interviews, criticizing his overall game, and then deploying him on the right wing, where he is not fully comfortable. Richarlison was given no time to settle when arriving at Spurs and it’s no surprise when his relationship with former manager Antonio Conte was revealed. The striker revealed that he was shouted at in a team meeting for two hours. 

The two had a tricky relationship, with Richarlison criticizing Conte after the North London club’s elimination from the Champions League round of 16 at the hands of AC Milan, describing the Italian as “selfish”. And then later reveals that he “made a fool of himself” by doing so as he knew it was his way of “showing firmness to the group”. The Brazilian was benched a lot of the season due to injury and just not being picked. The Italian would make Richarlison run as punishment therefore contributing to the 26-year-old’s ongoing groin injuries. Mentally and physically it wasn’t a good fit. However, Conte was the man who wanted Richarlison in that summer, so once the Italian was fired, Richarlison cleared the air as “it was the least” he could do.

Ange knows Richarlisons abilities and strengths, and even through good patches of form, the Australian does not get ahead of himself and celebrate, he wants more, saying “The goals are obviously important because that’s everyone’s measure, but I think his general game is improving and that’s the main thing for me. That’s what I’ve seen.” When talking about Richarlison Postecoglu also said he was “always confident he would score goals”, a belief he hadn’t had in a year.

Ange has done the same with players like Yves Bissouma and Ben Davies who both look like different players to when they played under Antonio Conte, he has a hugely positive effect on the players, along with the new captaincy under Heung Min Son, James Maddison and Christian Romero helping everyone bond and become a team, unlike the individuals we saw last year. Many players have come back from long-term injuries in the past few months and Ange put them not feeling disconnected from the squad and football down to “the dressing room we’ve created”.

Elliott Stasin

20 year old student in the media, Huge Spurs fan