This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
At just 22 years of age, there are presumably players of a similar age in football who would potentially be feeling pretty down on themselves if they were left on the bench for a huge international final, especially having started two games already.
However, this wasn’t the case for Richarlison in the Copa America final on Sunday.
The 5 foot 10 Everton star had been involved in Tite’s starting XI on two occasions before the final, but found himself sat on the bench as Roberto Firmino was preferred in the latter stages of the tournament.
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Defying his years, the former Watford man showed real maturity to come off the bench against Peru in the final and show Tite why he should’ve started instead with an all-action cameo.
Richarlison’s display showed just how far he has come on as a professional. Let’s not forget that the 5 foot 10 forward cried after being substituted by Javi Gracia in Watford’s 4-1 win over Chelsea back in 2017/18, as he wanted to help the team seal the win – he was withdrawn with the Hornets leading 1-0.
For the urge to help his side win a league game to be so strong that he became tearful over it, imagine how that same player would’ve felt having been unable to contribute in a final for his country. That was the old Richarlison, however.
The new Richarlison calmly stepped off the bench for the last 15 minutes and got involved to good effect – he also became an Everton record holder in the process after becoming the first Toffees player to score in a major international final.
He won his side a free-kick, won an aerial duel, and also committed four fouls as Brazil looked to see the game out.
The former Fluminense striker also managed to get himself on the scoresheet with a confidently struck penalty, which saw him mobbed by his teammates as it all but sealed the win.
A laughing, joking Richarlison was seen after the final whistle, his emotions summed up by a bizarre moment in which he dedicated the win to his great-grandmother before forgetting her name (yes, really), and it is becoming strikingly evident that the Brazilian is becoming more mature on the football pitch.