Everton talisman Richarlison has shed some light on his childhood being surrounded by "drugs and guns" to now starting with the Brazil national team alongside his idol, Neymar.
The 21-year-old was on the brink of a move to Dutch side Ajax when he received a phone call from then Watford manager Marco Silva back in 2017.
Richarlison snubbed the offer from Amsterdam and instead moved to Vicarage Road, eventually following Silva to Goodison Park 12 months later.
The Brazilian is one of the hottest prospects in the Premier League and is quickly becoming a household name across Europe, but Richarlison revealed that his early life in professional with América and Fluminense football was completely different.
"I could see the criminal activities from my window and some dealers would even hide drugs in my garden," Richarlison told iNews. "What could I do about it? Call the police?
"If so, the criminals would do something bad to me or my family. Some of them were my friends and we used to hang around together - we’d go on long walks to a waterfall a few kilometres away to cool off. They were involved with drugs and guns, but I never touched it.
"Five years ago I was in my city wearing Neymar’s shirt, copying his hairstyle and now I’m playing beside him with Brazil. I have a shirt which he’s signed which I’m going to frame and put on my wall. I told Neymar about being a big fan of his and he just laughed. He likes me as a friend and a player."
Richarlison's agent, Renato Velasco, also shed some light on the player's attitude. He claimed that the faith Everton manager Silva has put into the youngster has created a special relationship between the two.
"He was all set to join Ajax when Marco Silva came in," Velasco explained. "If a manager recognises his value and gives him opportunities, Richarlison will give his life for this man."
Despite only joining Everton in the summer, Richarlison is already the club's joint top goal-scoring alongside Gylfi Sigurdsson, where he is averaging more that one goal every two games.
He is also sitting ahead of the likes of Alexandre Lacazette, Álvaro Morata and Romelu Lukaku is the Premier League's goalscoring charts, helping the Toffees climb up to sixth place ahead of Manchester United ahead of this weekend's action.
Source : 90min