Richarlison insists the positive and challenging environment at Everton was a key factor in realising his childhood dream of turning out for the Brazil national team.
Having signed for the Blues from Watford this summer, the electric forward made a dazzling start to his Toffees career – hitting three goals in his first two matches.
His eye-catching displays suitably impressed Brazil boss Tite, who handed the 21-year-old a maiden senior international call-up.
And after coming on as a substitute in a 2-0 victory over the USA on September 9, Richarlison went on to announce himself on the international stage in sensational style on his full debut four days later – bagging a brace as the five-times world champions hammered El Salvador 5-0 in Washington DC.
The forward believes his move to Everton was vital in achieving an ambition he has held since he was a boy.
“It was always my dream to represent my country and there is no doubt that being at Everton has helped,” he revealed.
“I’m here playing, scoring goals and helping my teammates out and this obviously caught the eye of the coach of the national team.
“I’m happy with how things are going for me at Everton in terms of my development and I hope to keep improving every day.
“After the Brazil game, I watched the goals and was thinking how three or four years before, I was living in my hometown and now I’m playing for Brazil, scoring goals and it’s a dream come true.
“It’s something I’ll remember forever.”
Richarlison revealed memories flooded back to his childhood - growing up as football-obsessed kid in a rugged, underprivileged part of city Nova Venecia - as he reflected on his first senior Brazil appearance.
He says making his family proud is what he cherishes most.
"I thought about the problems I had growing up at home and how many times I prioritised football over school and many people told me I wouldn’t make it, that it was impossible,” he said.
“But the thing is, I did make it, I got to where I am due to my will and determination, thanks to what I’ve done but also with the help of some people around me back in my hometown.
“Some of my friends said I wouldn’t have a future in football, as did some of my family but I still believed in my potential and I just wanted to chase my dreams.
“My mum would tell me that I need to get a proper job but for me I didn’t want to have any job other than a footballer and this led to some tension, some frustration between us but it was something I dreamt of doing.
“It wasn’t just my mum it was other people as well.
“Regarding my dad, he was the one who registered me at my first school and it was my dad who believed in me more than anyone. I think it’s my dad who is the proudest out of anyone at me making my debut for Brazil.
“Before the game against El Salvador, both my uncle and my dad predicted I would score two goals. I thank God for this happening and I’m really happy and grateful for my family.”
A further thrill for Richarlison was the experience of playing alongside Paris St Germain superstar Neymar.
The Everton forward describes the 26-year-old as “one of my idols” and revealed he even used to copy the hairstyles of the former Barcelona man.
The roles have been reversed somewhat now, though, with Neymar imitating Richarlison’s famous ‘pigeon dance’ celebration.
“Playing alongside him was a happy experience as well as with so many other world-class players,” he said.
“I’ve always followed his progress, mirrored my play on his and imitated some of his haircuts. I actually told him this during lunch one day and everyone found it hilarious!
“I had the yellow Mohican when I was 12 or 13 but I didn’t quite pull it off because I didn’t have the right hair products. It would stay up for five minutes and then just flop down!
“The pigeon dance is my dance but I’m really happy that Neymar wants to copy me!
“I’ve kept my shirt and boots from the El Salvador game and I’ve got Neymar’s shirt from that match, too. I’m going to keep them in a room in my house, my shirt alongside Neymar’s so when people visit they can see this. Neymar wrote a message on the shirt, saying ‘God Bless You, Golden Boy’.”
Richarlison’s scintillating start to his international career has seen him keep his place in the Brazil squad for their upcoming friendlies against Saudi Arabia and Argentina.
The forward’s immediate priority, however, is his upcoming return to the Everton team for the Blues’ clash with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Richarlison has missed the Toffees’ past three matches after receiving a red card in the 2-2 draw at Bournemouth on August 25 and says he is champing at the bit to return to action.
The forward explained how he apologised to boss Marco Silva after his sending off against the Cherries and insists he has learned from his mistake.
“It was really hard for me to not be playing,” he said. “I was in the stadium for the game on Sunday [against West Ham United], watching my teammates giving their all and I was wishing I was alongside them doing the same.
“The red card was an upsetting event for me but I’ve learnt from it and I’m making sure it won’t happen again.
“It was a tough game and being sent off meant my teammates were left in the lurch. I know how hard it is for a team to play with just 10 men, so I went to apologise because Marco Silva is the boss.
“When I went in the dressing room [after receiving the red card] it was a strange feeling because I’m not an aggressive player. That’s not what I’m like, and, to say once more, it not happen again.”
In the build-up to matches, Richarlison revealed he often watches footage of his Brazilian football heroes to gain motivation.
He admits, however, there are a couple of goals in particular he has watched time and again over the past couple of weeks.
And these have served to further whet his appetite for his return to Everton action.
"On the plane from New York to Liverpool after international duty I watched my goals for Brazil about 50 times!” he said.
“But whenever we’re en route to a game, such as on the bus, I’m always watching videos of Ronaldo, Adriano and Neymar to get some inspiration and then when I’m on the pitch I try to replicate what they do.
“I’ll be watching them on the way to the Emirates, and I’ll be watching my own goals as well to see what good things I’ve done as a player.”