'Therapist saved my life': Brazil's Richarlison opens up on battling depression post World Cup exit

Richarlison battled depression after his country's quarter-final loss to Croatia

Richarlison Brazil's Richarlison attends a press conference | AP

Brazil striker Richarlison battled depression after his country's quarter-final loss to Croatia at the 2022 World Cup and considered quitting football.

Richarlison, who plays for Tottenham Hotspur, said in September he would seek psychological help after he was photographed crying on the bench when he was substituted during Brazil's 5-1 thrashing of Bolivia in a 2026 World Cup qualifier.

The 26-year-old, capped 48 times by Brazil, has urged players to seek help for mental health issues. "I'd just played in a World Cup, at my peak," Richarlison told ESPN Brasil. "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." 

After initial struggles at Spurs, who he joined from Everton for a reported fee of 60 million pounds ($75.68 million) in 2022, Richarlison has scored 11 goals in 26 appearances this season. 

"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," he said. "I even went and told my dad I was going to give up.

"It's kind of sad to talk like that. What I went through after the World Cup ... 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."

He said going to therapy was the best decision he has made. "I think the therapist, like it or not, saved me, saved my life. I only thought rubbish ... 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," Richarlison added.

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