Richarlison had begged for the moment and how it showed as he tearfully embraced friends and family at the end of his Champions League debut for Tottenham.
The talented 25-year-old had everything he wanted at former club Everton in terms of personal happiness and the adulation of fans who adored the Brazilian striker’s heart-and-sleeve approach.
What he didn’t have – and wasn’t going to get – however, was the elite scene of European football, and that was his ultimate ambition.
Richarlison won the hearts of Everton fans with his passion and meaningful contribution as they narrowly escaped relegation last season, but in the end he wanted more than the Merseyside club have so often in a state of chaos and transition in recent years, could offer.
This made parting ways inevitable and Richarlison made a £60m move to Spurs.
He finally made the Champions League on Wednesday and what an impact he had, proving a powerful addition to manager Antonio Conte’s mighty attacking arsenal.
Richarlison was denied his first Spurs goal by VAR against Fulham on Saturday and it will have made it even more enjoyable to open his account in the Champions League group game against Marseille.
Conte already has England captain Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski to call on, but against a Marseille side digging deep, it was Richarlison who made the decisive intervention.
Make no mistake, this player can be a divisive figure, whether he hits the deck too quickly on occasion or juggles the ball to the fury of opponents and opposition fans, as he did so in Spurs’ recent win at Nottingham Forest.
This should not mask Richarlison’s particular talent, attached to an insatiable desire for hard work and goals that endears him to his managers, teammates and supporters.
He has already won Spurs favor and the way he got them out of trouble when they returned to the Champions League will only cement his popularity.
Spurs had to fight long and hard, often far from their best, to make the breakthrough against Marseille, who were calm and organized even after being down to 10 men at the start of the second half when Chancel Mbemba was sent off for a foul. professional. on Son.
Enter Richarlison with a hard-hitting header from Ivan Perisic’s cross with 14 minutes left and an even better five minutes later as he watched Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s delivery past Marseille keeper Pau Lopez.
Richarlison said when he signed for Spurs: “I always said my dream was to play in the Champions League and now that dream is going to come true. Maybe I’m going to cry because it’s going to be a special moment. When the time comes, I’ll be quite emotional.”
And he certainly was as he headed for the sidelines at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after making what was, as far as he was concerned, the perfect Champions League start.
Conte said: “I remember when Richy signed for us he said, ‘I can’t wait to play in the Champions League and listen to the music. When a player says these words, it means he has a great desire and a great will.”
In the wider context, Richarlison’s performance and his two goals showed exactly why Conte was so keen to secure his signature as the Italian continues his relentless and fierce pursuit of success.
Conte may seem like he has plenty of attacking options, but he’s a manager who always wants more and he believes Richarlison will add and create goals this season. The way he decided this game will only increase this conviction.
The Spurs manager said: “We signed Richy because we tried to sign a player who could play in all three positions. Because of that, we had no doubts about signing him. We did it quickly because our idea and our vision were very clear, especially for this reason.
“Richy is more attacking than Deki [Kulusevski] but at the same time he can play in Son’s place, Harry Kane’s position and Deki’s position. For us it’s very important because it’s sure that when you rotate, you don’t lower the quality.
“I’m happy for Richy because he deserved to spend an evening like this.”
Spurs have struggled at times this season, but under Conte there is new steel that gives them the ability to get the job done, whether it’s earning a 96th-minute point at Chelsea or battling their own poor form to finally defeat Marseille.
It’s a Spurs team that’s starting to look like its manager and when that manager is Antonio Conte, that can only be a good thing.
Son is still looking for his best brilliance, which will surely come back, but the arrival of Richarlison can make up for that and certainly has done so here.
Spurs were desperate for a winning start, especially at home, in Group D. They should successfully emerge from a section also containing Sporting Lisbon and Eintracht Frankfurt, but the first three points set the platform and it is Richarlison who made sure they got them.
He was overwhelmed with emotion at the end of that win, but Richarlison can reflect on setting up his Spurs career in the most satisfying way.
“Tearful Richarlison shows he’s a powerful addition”