Shortly after Richarlison scored one of the best goals of the 2022 World Cup, footage of the Brazilian striker practicing the same result in training ahead of Thursday’s match against Serbia began to circulate. “It’s the result of his training,” teammate Fred explained, emphasizing that Richarlison’s stunning scissor strike was no accident.
“I think it was a great goal,” Richarlison later admitted. “I have scored goals like this for Fluminense and Everton before. Today I had the opportunity to score an acrobatic goal, possibly one of the most beautiful goals of my career. It was a tough match so I think it was one of the best matches of my career.”
It was the moment when the player turned into one of the most important players in Brazil in recent times. Richarlison has been one of the Seleção’s most consistent players over the past two years when Tite entrusted the 25-year-old to lead his team’s lineup for the 2022 World Cup.
Others might choose Gabriel Jesus or even Neymar, who plays a deeper role, to lead Brazil’s lineup in the tournament, but Tite understands what Richarlison is offering his team. The 25-year-old gives Brazil a fitness in the final third that they otherwise wouldn’t have. Richarlison also knows how to finish off from the penalty area.
At 25, Richarlison is ready to take the next step in his career, and a successful 2022 World Cup will highlight that. In the summer, the striker moved to Tottenham Hotspur, but ended up behind Harry Kane in the hierarchy. Conte may soon partner with Kane and Richarlison for Spurs.
Richarlison’s versatility means he can play in different positions along the attacking line, but he is most effective when the attack is built around him, as he does in Brazil. Neymar may be Selesão’s main player, but Paris Saint-Germain are Richarlison’s supply line, even if he has his own goal threat.
Tite handed Richarlison the number nine jersey for the 2022 World Cup and that in itself says something about his role with Brazil right now. Tite is spoiled for choice when it comes to flexible, technically excellent space-fillers who can attack opponents with the ball at their feet, but Richarlison is the real focus.
Brazil is expected to be one of the leaders to win the 2022 World Cup. They certainly boast one of the deepest lineups in the tournament, but Richarlison is something else. Not all of his goals are as spectacular as the one he scored against the Serbian, but he will have a better chance of scoring in Qatar.