Richarlison says he had dark thoughts after 2022 World Cup

Brazil and Tottenham forward Richarlison has said he suffered troubling thoughts and was ready to “give up” when battling depression following the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Richarlison said he sought psychological help following the tournament, saying it was “the best discovery I’ve ever had in my life.”

“Before I went to training, I wanted to go home, I wanted to go back to my room because, I don’t know what was going through my head,” Richarlison told ESPN Brasil. “I even went and told my dad I was going to give up.

“It’s kind of sad to talk like that, you know? What I went through after the World Cup, discovering things here at home from people who had lived with me for over seven years … It is crazy.

“To go to my father, who was the guy who chased my dream with me, and say, ‘Dad, I want to give up,’ is crazy.”

The 26-year-old finished as Brazil’s leading scorer in Qatar with three goals in four games, although the country exited at the quarterfinal stage following a penalty shootout defeat against Croatia.

Brazil’s elimination at the World Cup quarterfinals was a blow for Richarlison, who said shortly after the tournament that it was “worse than losing a family member” and described the huge pressure of wearing Brazil’s No. 9 jersey.

“I’d just played in a World Cup, man, at my peak,” Richarlison continued. “I was reaching my limit, you know? I don’t know, I’m not going to talk about killing myself, but I was in a depression there, and I wanted to give up.

“Even I, who seemed to be mentally strong. After the World Cup it seemed like it all fell apart.

“I think the therapist, like it or not, saved me, saved my life. I only thought rubbish … Even on Google, I only searched for rubbish, I only wanted to see rubbish about death.

“Today I can say, look for a psychologist, if you need a psychologist, look for one because it’s nice for you to open up like that, for you to be talking to the person. Today a [psychologist] came to thank me for taking this to the world of football, to the world, outside the pitch too, because it is very important and, whether we like it or not, it saves lives.

“I had this prejudice before, I thought it was nonsense, I thought I was crazy. In my family, there are people who think that anyone who goes to a psychologist thinks they are crazy, they think they are insane. But I discovered this and thought it was wonderful. The best thing, really the best discovery I’ve ever had in my life.”

The forward completed a £60 million ($75.7m) transfer from Everton to Spurs in July 2022.

In September, Richarlison opened up about having a “turbulent time off the field” after he was seen crying on the bench after being substituted during Brazil’s 5-1 win over Bolívia.

One of the issues affecting him was that he had parted ways with his long-term agent Renato Velasco, reportedly due to a financial dispute.

Richarlison has won 48 caps for Brazil, although he was an unused substitute in both of their fixtures this international window, against England on Saturday and Spain on Tuesday.