The Brazil international left the pitch just five minutes into the second half and had to be substituted after going down clutching his left calf. He was pictured leaving the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on crutches and was visibly distraught when speaking to reporters.
“It’s kind of hard to say because it’s so close to realising my dream [playing at the World Cup],” he told ESPN Brasil (via football.london). “I’ve already suffered an injury similar to this, I hope it can heal as soon as possible, or less. I was stopped about two months at Everton.
“I know it’s hard to talk right now, but let’s see, I’ll recover. Monday I have tests to do, but even walking hurts. Let’s wait.”
In what is a suspected MTJ calf injury, the £60m summer signing is expected to have a considerable stint on the sidelines. He will certainly miss Wednesday night’s top-flight clash with Manchester United and will be a huge doubt in the subsequent games following that, as well as for the World Cup in Qatar, which gets underway next month.
With fellow attacker Dejan Kulusevski also on the sidelines, this latest blow is a big one for manager Antonio Conte.
The 25-year-old had broken into the starting XI during the Swede’s absence and looked to be the first-choice candidate in a front three alongside Harry Kane and Heung-min Son. Three of his last four league appearances have been starts, with just one other start coming from his previous five outings.
Richarlison has also provided two goals and three assists in all competitions, as per Transfermarkt.
But now, Conte is going to have to shift his system to cater for the mounting injury list at Hotspur Way and as we saw during the second half, that is likely to be a 3-5-2 with Yves Bissouma joining Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – who scored the winner against the Toffees – and Rodrigo Bentancur.
Earlier in the month, the Italian head coach questioned the 26-year-old’s ability to adapt to his tactics and demands. “The only player that is struggling a bit with the tactical aspect is Bissouma, but also he is improving a lot in every aspect,” he said (via The Athletic).
That would make his continual involvement from the off a big risk – at least in Conte’s eyes – heading into some important fixtures, starting with the Red Devils on Wednesday before Newcastle United at the weekend.
It’s also a contrast to the manager’s praise of Richarlison.
“He’s a warrior, a fighter. We need this type of player,” he said to reporters last month (in quotes relayed by football.london). “I’m using him in all three positions up front… No,9, on the right, on the left.”
Now Conte’s going to be without him for the foreseeable future, so he will surely be gutted – if not fuming – by this latest, and devastating, piece of injury news.