I have great difficulty in listing the forwards who have been called up by Tite for the Brazilian national team. Neymar is a case apart, obviously. And Vinícius Jr demonstrates, in the universe of clubs, to be above the other wingers. But when the subject is a striker who eventually needs to be there to score goals, the thing is balanced and subjective.
Gabigol, Firmino, Matheus Cunha, Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli, Rodrygo, Hulk… We can include the “edges” there: Raphinha, Antony. Don’t they all seem on the same level to you? For me yes. All good. Everyone can be great at some point. But what guarantees that the moment of four, five excellent games will be precisely that of the World Cup? Everyone can “disappear” too, this is a possibility.
Richarlison fits into this group. But he is my favorite to start the World Cup. Why does it kick better? Why head better? Why does it fit better? None of that. But because it seems to me the most reliable. He’s not going to disappear in the H hour. And he has an above-average delivery level. He’s essentially one hell of a bigot.
On Thursday, he scored again for Everton. An epic comeback, from 0-2 to 3-2 against Crystal Palace, saved the traditional blue club Liverpool from relegation in the Premier. In this final stretch, in which Everton alternated victories over Chelsea and Leicester with tragic defeats, Richarlison took responsibility and participated in a high percentage of the team’s goals. Between balls in the net and assists, he participated in 8 of 13 goals in the last 10 games, when the club won 4 and lost 4 (before that, it was 7 wins and 16 losses.
Always under enormous pressure, always with the knife to the neck. He grew up, the team grew and he saved himself from what felt right: falling.
In the Brazilian team, Richarlison always responded. Whether in the main or in the Olympics – he put his foot down and went to Tokyo, which compromised, let’s say, his 21/22 season at the club.
Tite is a loyal guy, I’m sure he’ll call Richarlison for the Cup. But my point is not just summons. And play. He’s one of those guys who grows up, blood in his eyes, delivers what’s expected of him. Are you a star? I don’t think so. But between an uncertain ace and a good striker of guarantees at these times, I’m more of the second option (and the first, let’s face it, doesn’t even exist).