'I'm not here because I'm cute!' - Richarlison slams critics as he tries to cement Brazil squad place

Richarlison Brazil OlympicsGetty Images

Richarlison has slammed people critical of his place in the Brazil national team, pointedly saying he's not in the Selecao camp because of his looks.

The Everton forward, nicknamed "pigeon", is in Tite's squad for the first time since last summer, and he has demanded respect as he feels he warrants a place in the group.

With the 2022 World Cup looming, however, he has acknowledged his nation's intense competition for the striker position.

What has been said?

"I'm not here because I'm cute!" Richarlison told reporters.

"I was feeling sad, because I was out [of the squad] because of an injury that was serious. And many reporters and commentators already saw me as being outside the World Cup picture. And I was calm because I know my talent, my potential.

"Like it or not, I already have a history here with the national team shirt. I think you should also have a little respect too, we work hard, we work seriously. I was totally calm.

"Still, we are talking about the Brazilian team, so every day a new striker appears there. My position is very disputed."

The bigger picture

Despite the competition at his position, Richarlison played in key matches for Brazil in 2021.

He featured prominently in the Copa America, involving himself in two goals in seven matches and playing a full 90 minutes in the final against Argentina. Plus, he won the Olympics with the Selecao later in the summer.

As a result, he has reason to be confident, though it's true that Brazil have continued to perform well in his absence since his last senior appearance.

"It was painful for me [to be left out when heathly," he recently told GOAL in an exclusive interview. "I was hurt because I knew I could be there. There were guys who deserved to be there as well, so I lifted my head and kept training as I as always do.

"Being left out of the Brazilian national team hurts me a lot, because I've never imagined myself out of the Selecao and when it happened for the first time it was very painful. I was in my bedroom, spent a couple of days feeling the blues but then I was back to my normal self, kept training hard like they told me to and now I'm back."

Tite's squad have yet to lose in World Cup qualifying and have already booked their place in the upcoming event in Qatar.

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