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Richarlison opens up on mental health, will seek help upon returning to England

Richy’s openness to seeking help with his own mental health is important and represents the continued weakining of a stigma that still permeates sports.

Brazil v Bolivia - FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images

Richarlison finally scored for Brazil in yesterday’s CONMEBOL World Cup 2026 qualifying win over Peru, only to have his goal called back after an excruciating multi-minute VAR review. But that’s not what this story is about. In comments given to Brazilian outlet Globo after the match, the Tottenham Hotspur striker opened up about the difficulties he’s experienced lately both on and off the pitch, admitted he’s struggling with his mental health, and said he would be seeking treatment upon his return to England.

We’ve said for a while now that something’s not right with Richarlison. He had a rotten season under Antonio Conte last year, plagued by injury and bad form. He seemed to be an ideal striker under new Spurs manager Ange Postecoglou, but has stuttered straight out of the gate, his only goal this season coming in the penalty shootout loss to Fulham in the Carabao Cup a couple of weeks ago. He’s cut a frustrated, and at times anguished figure — he appeared to break down in tears this past Friday after being substituted in Brazil’s 5-1 win over Bolivia and has looked sad on the sidelines at Spurs. He appeared to lose his starting role at Spurs to Son Heung-Min in Tottenham’s last two league matches, though I’m sure Postecoglou would never couch that decision in those terms.

In his comments to the Brazilian press, Richy admitted that he’s been going through some personal issues unrelated to football over the past few months, and that he will seek psychological help once he returns to the UK this week.

“On the field I’m a happy team player, I try to help as much as possible. Sometimes, things don’t go the way we want. I think this part is a bit of the off-field side that ended up getting in my way. Even though you want to do things right, it ends up going wrong. I will continue to focus on the club, the storm has passed.

“I went through a turbulent time in the last five months off the field. Now things are right at home. People who only had an eye on my money walked away from me. Now things will start to flow, I’m sure I’ll get a good run at Tottenham and make things happen again.”

Richy denied that his crying on the sidelines vs. Bolivia had anything to do with his play on the pitch, which admittedly hasn’t been up to his standards, but was catharsis and a response to everything else going on in his life right now.

“That sad moment wasn’t even because I played poorly, in my opinion I didn’t play badly in Belém, it was more of an outburst about the things that were happening off the field, which were out of control not on my part, but on the part of people who were close to me.

“I’m going to go back to England and will seek psychological help, from a psychologist, to work on my mind. That’s it, to come back stronger. It’s about getting a good streak at Tottenham. This week I’m going to sit down and talk to them, I need a good streak, get the rhythm of the game and get here well.

“It’s important to give Tottenham a good run, this bad phase will pass. Wow, what a joke, but it’s part of football, it’s about continuing to work hard, things will happen again for me. I know my potential, I know what I’m capable of, I’ll keep working hard.”

I can’t overemphasize how important a statement this is from Richarlison. Globo notes that Richy recently severed ties with a Brazilian businessman who had been with him since the beginning of his career, but stops short of saying that this was a factor in whatever issues Richy is going through. And in truth, it doesn’t matter — as fans, we don’t need to know details about Richy’s struggles. The only thing that matters is that Richy is having a rough time and needs support.

The best part is that he appears to recognize that fact and is seeking help. There has been a stigma, not just in sports but throughout Western culture, about men speaking out about their feelings and their mental health. We’re starting to see a slight weakening of that stigma lately thanks to the brave words of prominent athletes — Dele’s public interview this summer is one example (albeit given under duress thanks to an impending newspaper article about his situation) and Richarlison represents another small crack in that wall. There’s a long way to go, but it’s a start, and the words need to be said, and heard.

There’s a clear correlation between mental health and athletic performance. While I can’t and won’t say that Richy going into counseling will for sure lead to additional goals for Spurs this season, I can say that seeking help will allow him to heal from whatever trauma he’s been going through. Ultimately, that’s more important than any football statistics will ever be. As fans, we owe Richy our thanks for his bravery, as well as our unrelenting support as a footballer and a person.