Richarlison was yearning for the moment and how it turned out as he cried as he embraced friends and family at the end of his Champions League debut for Tottenham.
The talented 25-year-old had everything he could want at former Everton in terms of personal happiness and the flattery of fans who loved the Brazil forward’s style.
But what he didn’t have – and won’t get – was the elite stage of European football, and that was his ultimate ambition.
Richarlison won the hearts of Everton fans with his passion and huge contribution as he narrowly escaped relegation last season, but in the end he wanted more than the Merseyside club could offer, often in disarray and moving in recent years.
He made parting ways inevitable and Richarlison switched £60m to Tottenham.
He finally achieved the Champions League on Wednesday and made an impact, proving to be a solid addition to coach Antonio Conte’s strong offensive arsenal.
VAR denied Richarlison his first goal for Tottenham against Fulham on Saturday, and that would have made opening his account in the Champions League group game against Marseille even sweeter.
Conte already had England captain Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevsky to call up but facing a Marseille side digging deep, it was Richarlison who took the decisive intervention.
Make no mistake, this player can be a divisive character, whether hitting the deck too quickly at times or manipulating the ball with the wrath of opponents and opponent fans, as he did in Tottenham’s recent win over Nottingham Forest.
This should not hide the special talent that Richarlison possessed, which held on to an insatiable desire for hard work and goals that made him endearing to his managers, colleagues and supporters.
He has already earned a reputation at Spurs and the way he got them out of trouble during their return to the Champions League will only cement his popularity.
Spurs had to struggle long and hard, often far from their best, for a breakthrough against Marseille, who were so well formed and organized even after they were reduced to 10 men early in the second half when Chancel Mbemba was sent off for a professional foul on the son. .
Richarlison entered with a powerful header from Ivan Perisic’s cross 14 minutes before the end of the match, and then came better five minutes later when Pierre-Emile Hogberg’s shot past Marseille goalkeeper Pau Lopez.
Richarlison said when he signed with Tottenham: “I’ve always said my dream is to play in the Champions League and now that dream will come true. Maybe I’ll cry because it’s going to be a special moment. When the time comes I’ll be calm. Emotional.”
And it certainly was as he walked to the sidelines at Tottenham Hotspur after making what was, as far as he was concerned, the perfect entry to the Champions League.
“I remember when Ritchie signed for us he said, ‘I can’t wait to play in the Champions League and listen to the music,'” Conte said. “When a player says these words, it means that he has a great desire and a great will.”
In the broader context, Richarlison’s performance and goals showed exactly why Conte was keen to secure his signature while the Italian continues his relentless pursuit of success.
Conte may seem to have a lot of attacking options, but this is a coach who always wants more and he believes Richarlison will be adding and creating goals this season. The way he decided to play this game will only increase that conviction.
The Tottenham boss said: “We signed Ritchie because we tried to sign a player who was able to play in all three positions. That’s why we had no doubts about signing him. We did it quickly because our idea and our vision was very clear and especially for this reason.
“Richie is more attacker than Dickey [Kulusevski] But at the same time he can play in the position of Son, in the position of Harry Kane and the position of Deki. For us, this is very important because for sure when you rotate, you don’t drop the quality.
“I’m so glad Ritchie deserved a night like this.”
Spurs have struggled at times this season, but under Conte there is new steel giving them the chance to get the job done, whether it’s earning a point in the 96th minute at Chelsea or battling his poor form to finally beat Marseille.
This is a Tottenham team that is starting to look like their manager and when that manager is Antonio Conte, that can only be a good thing.
Son is still on the hunt for his best, which will surely come back, but Richarlison’s arrival could make up for that and he certainly did here.
Spurs were desperate to make a successful start, especially at home, in the fourth set. They should successfully exit a division that also includes Sporting Lisbon and Eintracht Frankfurt, but it was the first three points that defined the podium and it was Richarlison who made sure they got it.
He was overwhelmed by emotion at the conclusion of this victory, but Richarlison can think of getting his career at Spurs up and running in the most satisfactory way.