Richarlison's trek from Brazil to England

Everton and Brazil forward Richarlison talks to CNN's Amanda Davies about his journey from Brazil to the Premier League and his friendship with Neymar.

Posted: Nov 26, 2018 9:14 PM
Updated: Nov 26, 2018 9:21 PM

The world is beginning to sit up and take note of Richarlison.

Still only 21, the Brazilian has impressed since moving to the English Premier League in 2017 and his career is very much on an upward trajectory.

The forward left Watford for Everton at the beginning of this season and a first call-up to the national squad quickly followed. On Tuesday, Richarlison scored Brazil's winner in the 1-0 friendly win over Cameroon.

But a career in world football's top flight seemed a distant dream for a young Richarlison when he was forced to borrow his friend's boots for his first trial at América Mineiro, the Brazilian club where he initially made his name.

"I was without any boots so those were the ones I used for the trial. I passed the trial with these boots and I was very happy and I thank my friend," he told CNN Sport's Amanda Davies.

Visit cnn.com/sport for more news and videos

Borrowing boots

As a result of the trial, Richarlison joined América's youth set-up in 2014 and made his first-team debut less than a year later.

Inspired by the youngster, the Brazilian side was promoted and he quickly attracted the attention of Serie A outfit Fluminense. His good performances continued and within a couple of years a move to the Premier League followed.

Richarlison combines a fiery attitude with the traditional flair associated with South American forwards.

It's a winning mold forged by a childhood where he would watch his father and uncle play the game he loved.

"Wherever they played, I'd go and watch them. I'd learn from them and try to get involved myself. I learned little by little," he said.

READ: Creator of Brazil's distinctive yellow jersey dies, aged 83

READ: Olivier Giroud - "Impossible to be openly homosexual in football."

Richarlison's father would prove a pivotal figure in the Brazilian's passion for the game.

"I'll never forget this memory. I was at home and suddenly my father came home with 10 footballs for me," said Richarlison.

"I lived by a football pitch so every day I'd take the ball and practice shooting."

It's practice that has served him well. The 21-year-old has scored six times in 10 appearances for Everton, quickly becoming a fan favorite at Goodison Park.

However, the English weather has proved a challenge at times.

"It was a little difficult on match days. I couldn't feel my feet, my hands and parts of my body so this was the biggest challenge for me here," he recalls of his early days in England.

National call-up

Adapting to life in a new country has been made a little easier by the large Brazilian contingent in the northwest of England.

He regularly meets up with players from Manchester City and Liverpool, some of whom are also Richarlison's international teammates.

"I always ask for help and some tips and it's always great to have this type of camaraderie," said the Everton striker.

He made his debut against the USA in September and his header against Cameroon was his third goal for Brazil.

Pulling on the infamous yellow jersey is something that took the youngster a while to come to terms with.

"I was very happy. I couldn't believe it," he said. "It only dawned on me the next day that this has happened."

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He hopes to become a permanent feature in the squad and wants to continue playing alongside his inspiration, Neymar.

"He was my favorite when I was growing up. When I was younger in interviews, I used to say that I'd cut my hair to be like his," said Richarlison.

"When I arrived at the Brazil national team, I told him and he laughed and said that it was great to have a player like me around."

If the sky seems to be the limit for Richarlison, the forward is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.

"I never thought that I'd be playing in the biggest league in the world," he said.

"I thank God for helping me get here. I've still got a long journey ahead of me. I'm very young and I can learn a lot from my teammates."

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