Copa America winner Richarlison says working under relentless club manager Marco Silva enabled him to take the international stage by storm.
The Everton forward converted a penalty to seal Brazil’s 3-1 Copa America final win over Peru on Sunday – and complete a dream first season with his national team.
Richarlison, who finished tied at the top of Everton’s scoring charts with Gylfi Sigurdsson in his opening Goodison Park campaign, has struck six times in 13 Brazil appearances following his debut last September.
The 22-year-old was Silva’s first signing as Everton boss, a move which reunited the pair 12 months after the Portuguese took Richarlison to Watford.
And Richarlison credits former Sporting Lisbon manager Silva for his exponential progress over the past two seasons.
“Marco Silva has helped me from the first day I arrived in England, always pushing me to develop and evolve,” said Richarlison.
“During training, he talks to me a lot and does not hesitate to call me in his office for us to have discussions and watch videos, to explain what is good or bad about my game.
“It helps me a lot and there is a special relationship between us.
“It requires more from me because he knows my potential – and it is thanks to this requirement that I integrated into the Brazil team.
“During training, he always demands that I claim the ball and score goals.
“As soon as something does not fit, he tells me. And he is always encouraging me to concentrate and work hard for the team.”
Richarlison scored twice on his first Brazil start – a 5-0 win over El Salvador 10 months ago – mirroring his effort on debut for Everton when the South American hit both his side’s goals in a 2-2 draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The player, whose goals dried up in the second half of his single season at Watford, maintained his scoring form throughout the campaign for Everton.
He was on target in landmark home victories over Chelsea and Manchester United at the back end of the season, going toe-to-toe with Icelander Sigurdsson for highest-scorer honours before the pair ended level on 14 in all competitions.
Richarlison’s eye for goal, allied to his prodigious work rate, speedily established the South American as a popular figure among Evertonians.
“I received some attention in the press because I did not score for a period [at Watford] – but I never lose faith in my ability and always give everything for the jersey," said Richarlison.
“Football is not just about scoring, it is about helping the team.
“It gives me a big feeling of happiness when I hear Everton supporters singing my name.
“It feels like they trust you and know what you can do. It is an extra boost.”
Richarlison’s irresistible form for Brazil meant his place in manager Tite’s squad for the team’s home Copa America this summer was a given.
The attacker started Brazil’s opening two matches against Bolivia and Venezuela before a bout of mumps put his tournament in jeopardy.
Richarlison, though, recovered in time for the showpiece game against Peru in Rio’s Maracana Stadium.
And after replacing Roberto Firmino during the second half, Richarlison rolled home the spot kick which confirmed Brazil’s first Copa America title in 12 years.
“It is the dream of any child growing up in Brazil to wear this jersey that has so much history,” added Richarlison.
"There are five stars on the jersey [to represent the country's five World Cup successes] and it is true that there is a lot of pressure playing for the team but it is up to us to manage it.
“We wanted to deliver a beautiful Copa in front of our home supporters and win for our country. It was wonderful to celebrate with my family in the Maracana."