By 90Min
September 09, 2018

Everton's club-record £50m man Richarlison has spoken out on his rough upbringing on the streets of Nova Venecia, and how he turned his back on a life of crime in order to realise his dreams of becoming a football star. 

The 21-year-old saw a number of his close friends imprisoned or killed as a result of the illegal drug trade in his hometown, in a time where it would've been very easy for a young Richarlison to follow suit to earn money. 

However, he has revealed how he was able to turn a blind eye to that side of his poverty-stricken upbringing. 

Speaking to the Mirror, Richarlison said: “A lot of my friends are in jail or dead, as they got caught up in the world of drugs and guns. I was in the middle of it all. Where I lived was a drug-dealing spot. I never got ­involved in any of it."

At the age of 10, Richarlison joined a local football academy where he continued to endure hardships. “I had no trainers to play so I went barefoot," he added. 

"Everyone else had trainers. I also remember running 9km to training one day with ripped trainers. The sock kept coming out of the shoe, so I’d have to stop and tuck it in.”

When a chance to join Figueirense arose, Richarlison travelled almost 9,000 km away from Nova Venecia only to be rejected by the club, and endured a 10-hour wait in a bus station in order to get home. 

He recalled: “My coach told me to never give up, as I was still very young. I continued working towards my dream."

Following that rejection, Richarlison travelled to Belo Horizonte with no money to get home. He impressed second-tier side America Mineiro and was finally taken on, going on to help the club win promotion. 

Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

“It was a wonderful year because it was the year I achieved my goal of buying a house for my dad," said Richarlison. 

He is now the Toffees' all-time record transfer and one of the Premier League's most promising talents, despite a lukewarm start to his England career with Watford. Richarlison has finally earned the ultimate token of success, getting a call-up to play for the Brazil national team during the international hiatus.

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