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The Silent Struggle Behind Richarlison’s On-Field Form

Richarlison’s Struggles: More Than Just Football

Emotional Weight of Football

Richarlison, Tottenham Hotspur’s £60million signing, has been under the microscope for his dwindling goalscoring form. While last season’s excuses might have held water, the sight of the 26-year-old in tears on the Brazil bench paints a more complex picture. As he bravely admitted, his struggles are not just about football but also personal challenges off the pitch.

“That sad moment wasn’t even because I played poorly,” he said. “It was more of an outburst about the things that were happening off the field, which got out of control — not on my part, but on the part of people who were close to me.”

The Personal Struggles

Richarlison’s recent comments shed light on a turbulent period in his life, hinting at betrayals from those he trusted. “People who only had an eye on my money walked away from me.”

This sentiment is echoed by Brazilian football journalist Natalie Gedra, who highlights the unfortunate reality many Brazilian footballers face.

“This is a very common story in Brazil that people approach you wanting money,” Gedra says. “I’ve seen loads of Brazilian players go bankrupt because of people who approach them and take their money, and sometimes it’s people from their own family.”

Breaking the Mental Health Taboo

Richarlison’s candidness about seeking psychological help has resonated deeply in Brazil. While discussing mental health might be less taboo in Brazil than in the UK, it remains rare for footballers to openly address it. Gedra points out that while attitudes are changing, Richarlison’s openness is still a significant step forward.

“It’s not common for footballers to talk about this,” Gedra adds. “But Richarlison is this guy who really sticks his heart out, everyone knows he’s very open and emotional.”

Pressure of Performance

Richarlison’s on-field struggles are evident. With only two goals in his last 30 appearances, the pressure is mounting. This is a stark contrast to his previous record, where he averaged a goal for Brazil every 63 minutes. The question arises: Can Tottenham’s new manager, Ange Postecoglou, reignite Richarlison’s spark?


Besart Berisha, who previously worked with Postecoglou, believes the manager’s unique approach to man-management could be the key.

“He will be great with Richarlison. He is the kind of manager who can bring players alive. You can see the results with the other players at Tottenham — it’s working really well,” Berisha says.

The Power of Mindset in Football

Paul McVeigh, a former footballer and now a globally renowned expert in elite performance, emphasizes the importance of mental performance in football. He believes that while technical and physical abilities are crucial, the mental aspect often remains undervalued.

“It’s such a shame football hasn’t embraced the mental side of performance as it has with sports science,” McVeigh laments.

Richarlison’s willingness to not only embrace the psychological benefits but also speak about them publicly is commendable. His journey serves as a reminder that footballers, like all of us, grapple with personal and professional challenges. Their strength lies not just in their physical prowess but also in their resilience and vulnerability.

Credit to Tim Spiers and Charlie Eccleshare for their original article titled ‘What next for Richarlison?’ in The Athletic.

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