Richarlison says being honoured as Everton’s PFA Community Champion for 2019/20 is a source of huge personal pride.
The forward poured himself into work for Everton in the Community, the Club’s official charity, and maintained his altruistic efforts at home in Brazil, while piecing together a fabulous individual campaign on the field.
Richarlison last week told evertonfc.com he “wants to be remembered as someone who tried to change things around me for the better” – and refuted the notion sports people should stay quiet on matters outside their profession.
During the season which finished last week, Richarlison invited a young supporter who was being bullied at school to join him for a game of football at Everton’s USM Finch Farm training ground.
He turned up unannounced at a grassroots training session to surprise a young fan who had recently lost his mother.
Back in Brazil, Richarlison arranged for delivery of 500 food parcels, each containing supplies to last one month, to households in his hometown of Nova Venecia following the coronavirus outbreak.
He made a similar concerted effort to provide aid when a number of Brazilian regions were ravaged by floods at the beginning of this year.
“I am very proud to receive this recognition,” Richarlison told evertonfc.com.
“From the beginning of my career, I set out to lend my voice to causes that are really important to me and to my community.
“All of us who play in major leagues and have some space in the media have a great social responsibility.
“And this can’t be only words, we need to act more and more to help and to try to change people's reality.”
Richarlison is the second successive South American to be named Everton’s PFA Community Champion – an award designed to recognise a player’s contribution to the Club’s community activities across the campaign – following Yerry Mina, the Colombian defender who claimed the prize for 2018/19.
The latest recipient’s overriding motivation for forging a professional football career was the prospect of moving his parents from a home region blighted by the drugs trade.
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EVERTON WOMEN RETURN TO TRAINING IN hummel GEAR
He achieved that ambition after signing with America Mineiro and as Richarlison advanced to Fluminense, then Watford and Everton, the attacker appreciated the potential of his influence beyond parochial boundaries.
The player stages an annual football match in Nova Venecia to raise funds to feed families in his home state of Espirito Santo.
He was appointed an ambassador for the University of Sao Paulo in May, with Richarlison pledging to use his elevated platform to raise funding and awareness for the establishment’s research into COVID-19.
Prior to football’s shutdown Richarlison was one of the stars of EitC’s showcase event in February, thrilling children from the Premier League Kicks programme by treating a game of football he joined as if it were the Copa America final he won with his country last year.
Talking exclusively to Everton’s matchday programme for the final game of the season against Bournemouth, Richarlison, his team’s joint top-scorer for the season with 15, said: “After starting a professional career, I saw I could do bigger and bigger things.
“It’s not always about money, it’s a matter of truly caring and engaging in causes that are important.
“It’s extremely necessary to remove the label from players, which says they should stick to sports and not talk about anything else.”