Everton forward Richarlison has revealed that he fears the club may prevent him from realising a dream to play at the Olympic Games, revealing that the Toffees do not wish to release him for both Tokyo 2020 and this year's Copa America.
The attacker has proven himself a lynchpin of the Selecao since his debut shortly after Russia 2018 for Tite's side, and is widely expected to earn selection for the defence of their CONMEBOL crown later this year following his impressive performances on Merseyside.
But the former Watford man has now opened up on his belief that he will be forced to choose between the Argentina-Colombia tournament and selection in Japan for the Olympic side, with Everton apparently unwilling to sanction his appearance at both.
What has Richarlison said?
“This year there’s the Copa America and there’s also the Olympics," the playmaker told ESPN. "It seems that the club doesn’t want to let me go [to both].
"[They] just wants to release me to one, I think it’s for the Copa America, I don’t know. I was called up, I told them that I want to go to the Copa America and the Olympics, if I’m called.
“Like it or not, I don’t know if I’ll have another opportunity for the Olympics because I’m in the age [bracket]. I want to play, I want to go.
"Because I've never played an Olympics and we’ll be defending our title. So, I want to go, yes. It will be talked about here inside the club to know what decision will be made.”
Richarlison's Olympic hopes, explained
At 24, Richarlison is technically over the age limit set for the majority of a nation's playing squad in the men's tournament at the Olympic Games, which requires that all members must be 23 or under, a rule originally introduced in 1992.
The International Olympic Committee partially reversed this decision four years later, allowing up to three players per squad who may be over the age limit, effectively allowing a clutch of senior faces into the competition.
Normally, this would mean that Richarlison would face increased competition from several other established Brazil players to be included, but FIFA have subsequently announced that players will be eligible on the basis of what their age would have been had the tournament not been suspended last year.
It means that the Toffees star faces a greater chance of forcing his way into selection as the nation looks to defend the gold medal they won on home soil at Rio 2016 in Tokyo later this year.
Everton's conundrum, explained
With two major tournaments now backed up thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, Carlo Ancelotti's side are reluctant to let arguably their most integral performer double up in what may well already be a shortened off-season.
With the Copa American scheduled to run between June 11 and July 10, and the Olympic tournament anticipated to finish on August 7, Richarlison would be expected to miss the opening weeks of the Toffees' new domestic campaign.
Factor in a lack of a pre-season or any serious rest period for the player - plus the potential injury liability - and it is easy to see what a headache Everton face about the Brazilian's desire to play both events.