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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 17 November 2018

Everton's Richarlison plays down Ronaldo comparison as he looks forward to life again with Silva

The Brazilian delighted to be reunited with the man who was his manager at Watford

Richarlison is eager to make a good impression at Everton. Getty Images
Richarlison is eager to make a good impression at Everton. Getty Images

The sense of flamboyance is not confined to the times he has the ball at his feet. Richarlison’s trickery has drawn comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo.

He has other eye-catching moves in mind. “I am hoping to score my first goal and do the dance I promised, the pigeon dance,” said Everton’s new £40 million (Dh189m) acquisition.

Like the sight of the pigeon dance amid the history of Goodison Park, a ground that dates back to 1892, the Brazilian is a sign of the changing times at Everton. He followed manager Marco Silva north from Watford. Their relationship dates back to the time he was playing in his homeland.

“I am really happy to be working with Marco Silva again,” the 21-year-old added. “It is a real pleasure. The first time I spoke with him was when I was playing for Fluminense.”

Richarlison was seemingly bound for Ajax in 2017 until Silva convinced him to go to Watford, enabling him to realise a childhood dream to play in the Premier League and justify his father’s belief that he is suited to its fast, physical nature.

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Now the Portuguese’s persuasive powers matter less than his attention to detail.

“I think he is a great coach and I understand him,” Richarlison added. “Whenever I want more information about something I can do better, I will go to his office. We have this dialogue.”

Silva signed him in part to add quality, and Richarlison is adamant a club who finished eighth last season should be aiming higher.

Yet his recruitment is about entertainment as well as achievement. It is an indication Silva wants to inject excitement after supporters tired of Sam Allardyce’s safety-first football. Richarlison may be joined by a second Brazilian winger, with Everton in talks with Bernard, a free agent after leaving Shakhtar Donetsk.

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“Bernard is a great player. If he were to come here, he would aid the team a lot,” Richarlison said.

Another possible addition is Yerry Mina, the Barcelona defender whose dancing Richarlison admired from his days at Palmeiras. The Colombian is another friend.

With or without Mina, a very different side is taking shape and, as one of the costliest buys in Everton’s history, Richarlison is a face of the new regime.

The price tag, he insisted, is no problem. “I am a calm person and I know my responsibilities,” he stated. “I will show it on the field. I am intending to work hard, score goals and get assists.”

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There were five goals for Watford, but the last came in November, He failed to score after Silva’s dismissal; perhaps the pigeon dance will not be seen for a while yet.

Mentions of the prolific Ronaldo – and the latest came from the former Liverpool captain Jamie Redknapp – have to be considered in that context.

Richarlison smiled at the mention of the reigning Ballon d’Or winner. “I am really happy with that comparison but I am merely Richarlison.

"Cristiano Ronaldo has achieved so much and he is a great person to model yourself on,” he said.

What they share is a commitment to being crowd pleasers. That extends beyond a capacity to fool defenders. Richarlison has taken early steps to endear himself with the fanbase.

During the pre-season friendly with Blackburn Rovers, he spotted a young girl with a poster asking for his shirt.

He spotted her in the crowd in Saturday’s defeat to Valencia and duly presented his shirt to her.

“When I was young, I was a big fan, I wanted to get the players’ shirts and shorts so that was something I wanted to do,” he explained. “She was overjoyed to get that shirt.”

Just as he was happy to become Everton’s new No 30.