Richarlison is eager to “get back to business” and repay Everton for giving the green light to his Olympic dream.
The Brazilian returned to First-Team training this week following the knee injury that stalled his campaign after four matches.
Richarlison is hoping for a playing comeback against former club Watford at Goodison Park on Saturday and the forward spoke exclusively to Everton’s matchday programme for the fixture.
In a wide-ranging interview, the 24-year-old reveals the pledge he made to Rafa Benitez and Marcel Brands on the eve of the season – and discloses his plan to become an “Everton legend”.
The player won Olympic gold with Brazil after receiving Benitez’s blessing to participate in the tournament off the back of involvement in the summer’s Copa America.
Everton manager Benitez said the decision to give Richarlison the Olympic go-ahead was taken with a view to the South American returning the favour in the shape of match-defining performances for his club.
“Yes, that's right,” begins Richarlison, “I have to do my absolute best in an Everton shirt.
“I said to him [Benitez] that he could count on me, as I was totally focused. That's what happened, I came back scoring goals and providing assists.
“Everton is the English club that put its faith in me, together with Watford. That's why I dedicate myself so much for the shirt. Everton paid a lot of money to sign me, they gambled on me and trusted me and I have to repay this on the pitch.
“That's what I've been doing and hope to continue doing, always.
“As I told Rafa Benitez and [Director of Football] Marcel Brands at the beginning of the season, my entire focus is here at Everton. I'm focused here, this is where my head is, I want to help Everton meet their targets and make everybody happy.”
Richarlison is beginning his fourth season with Everton following a single campaign at Watford after moving to England from Rio club Fluminense in 2017.
He has scored 43 goals in 123 matches for the Club and insists he is only just getting going.
“What I want most of all, is to become a legend here,” said Richarlison.
“I see Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines as role models here at Everton.
“I think I can follow in their footsteps and become a legend here at the Club. I'm so proud when I get to the stadium and see the fans with my banner, with my name on their shirts.
“I feel proud, it's been a great start and I hope it continues this way so I can also become an Everton idol.”
Richarlison, who has 32 caps for his country, featured in all seven matches of Brazil’s Copa America campaign, which ended in final defeat by Argentina.
He started every game of the golden Olympic tournament and seven days after the final in Japan scored and assisted in Everton’s victory over Southampton to start the Premier League season.
The player’s bright club start was thwarted, however, when he hurt his knee in the game against Burnley on 13 September.
“I was on a good run of playing every game and feeling confident and then all of a sudden I had this injury,” said Richarlison.
“It was awful and happened at an important time for the Club, we were on a winning run and then the injury happened and made things difficult.
“I was really upset but knew I'd have to train hard to recover as quickly as possible and that's what I did.
“I was in the gym pretty much every day, I got fed up with only being able to go in there.
“Now it's time to work hard on the pitch. I need to regain a bit of confidence and match fitness but I feel good and hope to be involved in the game against Watford.
“I've recovered well and I feel stronger. It's time to go on a good run and get back to business.”
Additional programme sales points will be positioned outside Goodison Park for Saturday's meeting with Watford, with limited options to buy inside the stadium.
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