Football News

Richarlison says post-World Cup depression led to thoughts of quitting

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 21:15, 27 March 2024

Tottenham forward Richarlison contemplated quitting the sport following a disappointing 2022 World Cup campaign.

Brazil were dumped out in the quarter-finals by Croatia on penalties. Richarlison, making his tournament debut, featured in all but five of their matches — scoring three goals and creating one more — but would only play 84 minutes against Zlatko Dalić’s men.

“I’d just played in a World Cup, at my peak,” he told ESPN Brasil. “I was reaching my limit, you know? I don’t know, I;m not going to talk about killing myself, but I was in a depression there, and I wanted to give up. Even I, who seemed to be mentally strong. After the World Cup, it seemed like it all fell apart.

“It’s kind of sad to talk like that. What I went through after the World Cup … To go to my father, who was the guy who chased my dream with me, and say: ‘Dad, I want to give up’, is crazy.”

Richarlison furthered that going to therapy was the best decision he’s made. “I think the therapist, like it or not, saved me, saved my life,” the Spurs man added. “I only thought rubbish … If you need a psychologist, look for one because it’s nice for you to open up like that, for you to be talking to the person.”

A mainstay of Premier League football since joining Watford from Fluminense in 2017, he’s now plying his trade at Tottenham after four years with Everton (scoring 53 goals across 152 appearances).

His debut campaign in North London was somewhat disappointing, with one goal across 27 matches, and life under Ange Postecoglou didn’t start too well.

Richarlison sporadically featured in Spurs’ opening ten league matches, scoring one goal and registering three assists. He would then be sidelined after a groin surge before going on an incredible goalscoring run: nine goals through eight Premier League matches.

A brace against Newcastle got the ball rolling, and Postecoglou noted the Brazilian’s value to his team, even when he wasn’t troubling the scorers.

“Obviously, for Richy, getting a couple of goals as a striker was positive for him,” he said. Richy was important to us at the start of the year, too, but he wasn’t fully fit. I think you could tell he was restricted with his movements.

“Sometimes, we had to play him out wide just to get him through games. Since he’s come back, it’s fair to say he feels a lot better physically, and I think that’s also helped him mentally.”

Another spell on the sidelines would soon follow, with Richarlison missing three games due to a knee injury, but the forward is back in contention as Tottenham seeks a strong finish that could reward them with Champions League football.

With ten matches remaining, Spurs are currently fifth and three points behind Aston Villa, albeit with a game in hand. Postecoglou’s men have some exciting fixtures in what Sir Alex Ferguson once dubbed ‘squeaky-bum time’.

Tottenham still has to visit West Ham, Newcastle and Liverpool while hosting Manchester City and neighbours Arsenal. It’s also worth noting these last three clubs mentioned are going for the league title.