Marco Silva’s admission that he is impressing on Richarlison the need to stay on his feet is long overdue because, while Everton continue to be the victims of galling double standards, the Brazilian needs to do all he can to change the perceptions of him.
There was a moment during Marco Silva’s first home game in charge where it looked as though Everton’s injury curse, the one that had claimed Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy as its most prominent but by no means rare victims in preceding years (and which, of course returned last Sunday for André Gomes), had struck again.
New signings Yerry Mina and Gomes were already sidelined and would wait weeks to make their debuts but then Richarlison, the marquee acquisition of the 2018 close season, slipped awkwardly and cried out in pain, immediately sparking fears he had torn his groin just 28 minutes into his second appearance for the club.
After some treatment, the Brazilian returned to the fray and promptly scored what would prove to be the winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Southampton before eventually being substituted to an ovation in the 86th minute.
That injury scare wasn’t to be an isolated incident and Evertonians initially marvelled at the resilience of their new goalscoring hero who would go down on a few occasions in those early weeks of the 2018-19 season, sufficiently injured, it appeared, to require that he be withdrawn only to then stage a remarkable “Lazarus” act to carry on.
Over the course of the intervening year or so, the sight of Richarlison writhing around in pain or clutching his head and checking for non-existent blood has become an almost weekly occurrence. Far from being blessed with the bounce-back-ability of some horror movie serial killer, his antics would lead a neutral observer to conclude that he has the constitution and pain threshold of a particularly sensitive toddler.
The contradiction here, of course — as anyone who has watched Everton since the start of last season can attest — is that Richarlison does possess the stature and physical strength to more than deal with the rigours of the modern Premier League. Under Silva’s stewardship, the 22-year-old has added a robust dimension to both the defensive and attacking sides of his game, particularly this season; he puts himself about a lot more now, out-muscles defenders and puts in slide tackles to the point where he has become one of the most important members of Silva’s team.
At the same time, with his direct style and willingness to get forward, he regularly comes into contact with and is regularly fouled by some of the most grizzled and physical defenders in the game. And yet there are times when he seems incapable of staying on his feet and Everton fans have grown tired of what, outwardly, looks like an act and feigned injury, presumably designed to curry favour with referees.
The problem is that it is having the opposite effect — instead of highlighting rough and illegal treatment at the hands of opposition players, Richarlison has developed a reputation for play-acting and the shouts of “Get up, soft lad!” from the stands at Goodison suggest that supporters have grown tired of it as well.
That’s why Silva’s admission yesterday that he and his coaching staff are now working with the player to impress on him the need to stay on his feet as much as possible is so welcome, even if it is long overdue. Frankly, Richarlison’s propensity to throw himself around in the manner that he does has betrayed a lack of authority on the manager’s part and it’s high time he learned to rein it in in the same way that he learned from that early lesson at Bournemouth at the start of last season when he was sent off for “head-butting” Adam Smith.
It’s all well and good for we Evertonians to acknowledge this irksome part of the on-pitch persona of a player who, it has to be said, has been a model pro and club representative off it but there is a clear double standard at play that just rubs further salt into the wounds inflicted by the refereeing injustice the Toffees seem to endure on a regular basis these days.
It was illustrated quite clearly by a column by The Times newspaper’s northwest correspondent and oracle when it comes to reliable Everton news, Paul Joyce, highlighting how Richarlison’s “theatrics” were hurting Silva’s cause. Using examples from Sunday’s controversial game against Tottenham as evidence as he did, Joyce made points that few Blues would argue with — as “the boy who cried wolf”, Richarlison had undermined his case with Martin Atkinson to such a degree that, when he was clearly impeded in the box by Davinson Sanchez, the referee barely gave the incident a millisecond’s thought before waving play on. And if there was a check by Video Assistant Referee, Anthony Taylor, there was no evidence of it; it was seemingly just glossed over in the same manner as another equally solid claim for a penalty by Everton’s No 7 at Brighton had been the weekend before.
Richarlison is felled by Davinson Sanchez in the Tottenham area but no penalty was awarded
(Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)
Where, you might ask, are the high-profile “broadsheet” articles and the earnest Sky Sports panels condemning the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané for their frequent acts of embellishment and simulation that have, until this past weekend (when Mané was finally booked for diving), either been successful in conning match officials or have simply been ignored, earning a number of free-kicks and spot-kicks for “Big Red”, the media darlings that they are?
This isn’t the stuff of Evertonian paranoia — there was, quite literally, one rule for Everton and one rule for everybody else the season before last when Oumar Niasse was retroactively banned for two matches for “exaggerating the effect of normal contact in order to deceive the referee” in a match at Crystal Palace. Salah, on the other hand, executed a galling “dying swan” act in a match against Newcastle last December and nothing was done.
As ex-referee Mark Halsey wrote in the gutter rag that shall not be named at the time: “I find it incredible Mo Salah’s act of simulation was not even passed on to the FA’s independent panel. What was the difference between Salah’s act of simulation and Oumar Niasse of Everton against Crystal Palace last season?”
It was one of many such incidents that either weren’t ever referred to the panel or the offending players weren’t punished before a directive that the Football Association announced with great fanfare just melted away.
And all the while, none of these players at “big six” clubs ever garnered a reputation for diving like the one assigned to Richarlison. Far from being seen to be crying wolf, they continue to get the big decisions, time after time…
While we can all agree that such scandalous inconsistencies and naked bias shouldn’t exist in the game, they clearly do and Everton’s experience with the Premier League’s officiating and the FA’s adjudicating panels over the past couple of weeks has ratcheted up the anger and frustration being felt by the club’s supporters.
Infuriating decisions by VAR to award a penalty to Brighton while ignoring credible claims for spot-kicks for Everton in that match and the one against Tottenham (in which Dele Alli’s clear and obvious handball was somehow not punished following extensive review by VAR) are making a mockery of the supposed integrity of the world’s most popular and lucrative league.
BUT… while these inconsistencies exist and as long as our complaining about them isn’t making the damndest bit of difference, Everton’s players need to go above and beyond to ensure that they aren’t giving referees any reason to brand them with the tag of diver or play-actor. As long as this imbalance of treatment from officials exists, Richarlison, in particular, has to do everything he can to stay on his feet so that, over time, he can change the perception of him in the officials’ minds.
Is it fair? No. Is Richarlison also being fouled on a regular basis? Yes, but human beings are quick to form opinions about and make associations with people, be it on a conscious or sub-conscious level. And if the perception, even when he is genuinely being impeded illegally, is that he will make the most of it and feign injury, then Richarlison will continue to miss out on some big, potentially game-changing calls.
Let this new call from his manager mark the next phase of the Brazilian’s development and maturity and, in the meantime, may the club finally start fighting our corner against the powers that be when it comes to the worsening standard of officiating.
Reader Comments (47)
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1 Posted 07/11/2019 at 08:07:24
Learn, young man, and you will be unstoppable! I'd love to see this.
2 Posted 07/11/2019 at 08:12:24
We spend so much time playing with ten men while he demonstrates to the world how badly hurt he is.
Somebody has got to get a grip of this boy before its too late. Not only is he pissing everyone off, he is in danger of ruining his own career.
3 Posted 07/11/2019 at 08:17:01
I don't know what puts me off about football the most anymore, the referees, the incredible misuse of VAR, the bias toward certain teams, or Marco Silva's total ineptitude.
4 Posted 07/11/2019 at 10:01:18
5 Posted 07/11/2019 at 10:03:21
If I was Richarlison, I would be more disappointed with the Everton hierarchy, than the FA and their ref puppets. For it is they who are letting him down by appearing indifferent to the illegality of the refs decisions.
The Everton board and manager should be compiling video evidence, comparing the referees bias actions and decisions and threatening whatever legal action available to them, against the FA.
It appears that the FA act like bullies. They have been allowed to do as they wish to Everton, as they never fight back. I don't know when the injustice actually started, Clive Thomas, maybe earlier? What sticks in my mind is the Niasse ruling.
EFC, accepted the decision, although it was dubious, but should have banging down the door, when it wasn't applied to all of the other incidents since.
I only go the match sporadically these days, mainly when I get offered a free ticket. My last season ticket was in 2007, I gave it up because of the poor refereeing and their blatent bias against Everton. This treatment will not change, as long as the Everton board remain spineless and Silva, a gibbering incoherent manager.
6 Posted 07/11/2019 at 11:35:49
Of course, it may be all conjecture that may iron itself out, but at the moment it stinks. Furthermore, we are doing our best to help their cause with the football we are playing!
7 Posted 07/11/2019 at 11:48:40
I do think that the article could be targeted at every single Premier League player not just our own star player.
I can't think of many Premier League players who actually stay on their feet these days.
Diving is a massive part of the game. When was the last time you heard a pundit or commentator mention diving? They tend to use 'he was clever there' or 'he earnt that free-kick' or ' he was entitled to go down there'. It's ingrained in the game and isn't going away.
Dyche calls it out most weeks and nobody is interested as it works as a tactic, teams prosper from it. As frustrating as it is, players will keep on diving to cheat and get an advantage.
8 Posted 07/11/2019 at 12:11:02
If not, I remember Lallana winning a penalty very shortly after Niasse's incident where, like Niasse, there was contact but nowhere near enough to warrant the reaction. Carbon copy except I think it might've been a cup game.
I don't buy into the anti-Everton stuff one bit. But in this case, it absolutely needed explaining.
Oh and Richarlison is embarrassing and hard work to watch.
9 Posted 07/11/2019 at 13:04:19
Regardless, the problem I have with Richarlison, as noted by Darren Hinds, Dave Abrahams and many others, is that he rolls around on the floor for minutes after the incident and most importantly after play has re-started. We are down to 10 men. This happens too often to accept that he may have a knock and so is temporarily incapacitated. In doing this, he is harming his team. This is the thing he needs to stop.
The diving might happen on auto-pilot. A bad habit he does without thinking and something that is hard to stop. Lying on the floor for a good few minutes is not something you do without thinking.
Dive if you must, appeal for the penalty, if it's not given, get up and get back in position and go again. We are struggling in the league and the team needs what is now undoubtedly our best attacking player.
10 Posted 07/11/2019 at 13:10:39
He needs to just knock it off. The flopping and diving is impeding his ability to actually get a call in his favor, and again, it's simply embarrassing as hell.
I've been in this racquet for 12 years now. Some might roll their eyes at such a small amount of time, I get that. But it's long enough for me to confidently say, Richarlison and his play-acting are anti-Everton. This isn't the way a proper Everton player conducts himself on the pitch, and it needs to stop now.
11 Posted 07/11/2019 at 13:14:27
12 Posted 07/11/2019 at 13:18:20
He'd go down to draw a foul. I can't ever remember him embellishing, rolling around, faking being hurt, etc, the way Richarlison has.
One way is entirely acceptable, one way is entirely unacceptable. Richarlison is the latter.
14 Posted 07/11/2019 at 13:54:08
Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat.
Him staying on his feet longer won't have a badgers cock worth of difference to these bent referees.
15 Posted 07/11/2019 at 13:55:33
16 Posted 07/11/2019 at 14:34:30
17 Posted 07/11/2019 at 14:57:07
With regard to the Brighton penalty. If a player of Michael Keane's stature trod on one's foot, unintentionally or not, it would be a painful experience, especially with the light slipper-like boots used today. I've seen plenty of denial here about that incident, even suggestions that young Connolly was faking, but it it happened to Richarlison, he would be down for longer than his regulation 5 minutes and we would be crying blue murder.
My pet hate is the simulation as witnessed in the Son/Mina incident. The angle from behind the goal showed no contact, but he put his two legs together and jumped to the floor. Similar to the Mane incident at Villa and countless incidents involving Salah, often a touch round the shoulder causes a two feet together jump into the air. Same with the Lindelof challenge on Origi con, the two legged jump, which caused a confused Origi to grasp the wrong foot in agony. Unfortunately the FA didn't have the bottle to implement their initiative apart from Niasse AND Lanzini. Needless to say our expert TV pundits have the old "there was contact, he was entitled to go down" response.
18 Posted 07/11/2019 at 15:18:33
Richarlison has watched his buddy Neymar too much and tries to copy his style. You would have thought the amount of Mickey taking Neymar gets for it, others wouldn't go down that route.
We had this years back with Andy Johnson getting a reputation of a diver. We were losing out on decisions so many times until Moyes made a public statement about it. Perhaps Silva is getting him to clean up his act and planning to do something similar?
19 Posted 07/11/2019 at 15:32:52
He is fouled so many times in every game, I think he has become frustrated and now overeggs the extent of the foul.
I don't think he has gone down once without being fouled – unlike Mane, Salah, Dele Alli, Rashford and James to name but a few.
20 Posted 07/11/2019 at 15:55:24
Whats your response to life isnt fair, tough it out?
Not challenging you, just want the second level to your comment.
21 Posted 07/11/2019 at 16:15:10
If you want to do it then get good at it and do in areas which put pressure on the referee, do it in the area. If you are to get a card for diving have some reward for it to. Hes not won us one penalty, so whats the point?
Tom Davies puts him to shame in winning free kicks without fuss by simply getting his body between him and the man.
Admittedly his histrionics chime almost in sync with his move to centre forward, same thing happening last year. Part of the issue lies in the service. Against West Ham it was down the channel with quick service and he could protect the ball. In recent weeks the ball has been played into him back to goal, the build up play ponderous. He stinks at it, his reaction to it, is to go down and sulk. Part of me cannot blame him.
I cannot emphasize on a wider point, this piece whilst about Richarlison, reflects poorly on Silva. Our better players thrive in high tempo play and quick transitions. When you set your team up to negate these strengths, you get symptoms like this.
Sunday played out like two teams fearful of losing. Both were terrible, and the way we played stifles our better players.
Is it really about Richarlison or just another nail in Silvas now pitted coffin?
22 Posted 07/11/2019 at 16:22:49
Unfortunately it is part of the modern game and one would have hoped that VAR had managed to deter many of the ''divers'' – especially in the area.
23 Posted 07/11/2019 at 16:56:07
He's probably not the most talented diver in the Premier League (amongst a great many), but it's really this bout of final death throws he acts out every time he's fouled that's giving him and us problems more than anything else.
Silva said he's trying to keep him on his feet, if he's fouled then he's fouled! Silva should never have said this publicly and dealt with it in-house.
If at the start they'd have gotten a grip on his amateur dramatics, he'd be winning his fair share of fouls legally or illegally now.
24 Posted 07/11/2019 at 17:09:14
It pisses referees off while also depriving Everton's players of a passing option while he's on the ground and you're just not going to get the decisions for clear fouls if you've tainted the officials' perception of you in this way.
25 Posted 07/11/2019 at 17:11:33
In the news today "Sadio Mané has rejected Pep Guardiola's claims that he is a diver and insists that he will not change his approach when Liverpool and Manchester City meet on Sunday. The forward, 27, said that he would not think twice about going to ground in the penalty area if he felt contact from an opponent, but reiterated the view of his manager Jürgen Klopp that he is not a cheat."
He needs to study some Mane highlights AND we need to get the ball in the box.
26 Posted 07/11/2019 at 17:29:49
Let's say that, under certain conditions, he makes a sensible professional decision not to resist gravity and allows his trajectory to be altered by forces beyond his control.
This isn't diving, it's just being realistic about one's chances of achieving a desired outcome.
27 Posted 07/11/2019 at 17:58:23
28 Posted 07/11/2019 at 18:00:47
29 Posted 07/11/2019 at 18:11:20
So he's not a diver.
30 Posted 07/11/2019 at 18:14:56
I think Richarlison's diving is overstated. As above, the issue is how he stays down when he doesn't appear injured and the play carries on and we need him on his feet.
31 Posted 07/11/2019 at 18:29:07
You're talking old school like Peter Reid or Rooney when if someone tried to kick you in the air, they would just get up and laugh in their face and say, "Is that all you got?"
However, today's overpampered brigade are not like that; give them a mild push and they will roil over a dozen times as if they've been shot.
My favourite is when someone gets handed off on the chest and then goes down holding their face as if they've been hit by Mike Tyson.
The unfortunate thing is, the Sky darlings get away with it.
32 Posted 07/11/2019 at 18:42:08
How many players have been booked for diving in the Premier League this season?
33 Posted 07/11/2019 at 19:03:34
Why it has taken the manager 18 months to recognise this and finally give him a ‘ ‘gentle bollocking' is mind-blowing. As is any defence of his antics.
34 Posted 07/11/2019 at 19:06:42
I'm not sure he has the mentality or the attitude to cut it with Everton. Perhaps I'm being unfair, but from a physique point of view, he reminds me of Shearer at a similar age.
Can you imagine Shearer getting 'roughed' up like this guy each week?
35 Posted 07/11/2019 at 20:34:38
As someone put it very well above – he doesn't oppose the force of gravity upon being contacted. The former is inexcusable for me, from any player at any level. The latter, unfortunately, is a necessary evil in today's game and will continue to be until officials are willing to call fouls where the recipient stays on their feet.
As many others have said; go down upon contact wouldn't irk the supporters if he just did it like a man – demonstrate the foul, await a decision, then get up and crack on. Put simply, just be staunch about it and respect the shirt on your back and what it represents.
I honestly don't think that's a big leap for him to make or a difficult concept for his manager to get into his head. He's at a crossroads now – if he doesn't change his ways, starting on Saturday, this slippery slope will quickly steepen.
36 Posted 07/11/2019 at 20:51:52
Regardless which club, it is exactly that shit that drives many fans mad.
If I see some guy go down pointlessly to cheat, he can look like Mike Tyson or a ballerina, it is when he suddenly runs at full pace seconds later that drives so many fans mad.
And yes, the rest do it, so we should do it as well too? Well maybe but hard to support "men" like that. The women's game has more dignity. I will tell you more re this after going to the women's derby with my granddaughter on the 17th.
Sadly, the theatrics make the game just a joke.
The game I played was rugby. Lot to learn for the wimps who play this game and the media-run referees who supposedly control it. After every game, the media ramble on about every so-called foul or questionable decision and we follow suit.
Bottom line is, it fills media and social media and we follow it like lemmings rather than men or women.
37 Posted 07/11/2019 at 21:22:51
My point (perhaps not well-made), is that there is a difference between accepting the contact and conceding your balance, and throwing yourself to the floor and feigning injury.
I played football and rugby to a decent level as a youngster and also sprinted at county level. I got clipped many a time at full speed. In those days you tried to stay on your feet by instinct (going down couldve got me a kicking from my own team tbh!), but there is a split-second where you either shift your weight and try and stay up, or concede and go down. Anything after that is redundant and embarrassing.
Either way its a foul, but there are many recent examples where the guy who stays on his feet gets nothing. In effect, he is punished for showing some integrity. Hence my statement that its a necessary evil.
38 Posted 07/11/2019 at 22:14:08
Rolling is ALWAYS faked. It is never a solution for pain. If it was our hospitals would have beds ten feet wide so those suffering from real pain could ease all their problems merely by rolling from one side to the other.
So, Richy just grit your teeth and get up. You have all the ability to be a very good player if you stay on your feet. If you feel the urge to dive then go to the swimming pool.
39 Posted 07/11/2019 at 22:17:30
I believe there are a number of factors in play here.
First, I'd like to deal with the last game which - as often is the case on TW - tends to heavily influence current comments.
Sunday was emotional on many levels. Andre's ankle break. The foul and circumstances that brought it about. Son's banishment, appeal and rescinding of the red card. The match and VAR officials calls...and Richarlison's 'simulation'.
When emotions run high, rational often takes a back seat.
I've already said a couple of days ago that his going to ground was exaggerated. Possibly the most I've ever seen him do in a single game.
That said, it was not typical of how he has played this season. Indeed, before Sunday, he had largely curtailed such 'simulation' this season.
I wholeheartedly agree with those who say the main bugbear is not him ending up on the floor, per se, but the TIME he spends on the floor holding his head/knee/ankle whilst the game continues around him.
The medics are seldom if ever called on after such theatrics, so clearly he is not seriously injured. And if the ref doesn't give the foul within a second or two he evidently isn't going to change his mind. So the amateur dramatics are pretty futile.
However, there are a number of points I wish to defend Richarlison on.
1) it's all well and good playing the purist card and labelling Richarlison's presumed behaviour as 'un-Everton', but the harsh reality is that simulation has LONG been part of the game. It's not exclusively a 'Johnny Foreigner' trait (homegrown players are also very adept at the dark arts). It's not going to be easily eradicated from the game any time soon.
Indeed, phrases related to simulation (or conscious cheating, if you prefer) have entered the football lexicon and are accepted as 'the norm'.
'He played for the foul.'
'As soon as he felt contact he was always going to ground.'
'He had every right to go down'.
EVERYONE is at it. Only some are better at it than others. If you like, Richarlison is getting heaps because his acts of simulation are so poor!
2) Richarlison IS getting fouled. A LOT. He is the 7th most fouled player in the PL this season. He was the 4th most fouled player last season. There is genuine cause, then, why he ends up flat out.
3) the football and position Silva asks him to play exposes him more to the likelihood of being clattered.
I will never tire of saying it, but if Silva wants to play Richarlison as a central forward then the football needs to be played in to his feet, with other supporting players in close proximity to play short wall passes between them as a way around close marking Orcs.
Expecting him to play with his back to goal with said Orcs in close attendance, attempting to gather in long high balls, will, for the most part, not end favorably either for the team or Richarlison.
We are not getting the best out of Richarlison this way. He is far more lethal running at retreating defenders at pace, either side. And - guess what? He either gets past the defender or draws an evident foul, which is never so obvious when two players challenge for a dropping aerial ball.
4) in defence of Silva. Some are presuming because it was raised and answered in his presser that is only NOW in recent days Marco has discussed the issue with Richarlison. Nobody knows with any degree of certainty.
I also liked how Silva categorically denied his player is a diver, noting - quite correctly - that Richarlison has NEVER been booked for diving. NEVER.
5) can we put an end to lazy character labelling of Richarlison? Namely, his 'pouting smacked arse look' of a sulking child.
That is his permanent game face - one of focus and concentration, if you like - rather than one of petulance as some try to portray it.
Finally, I personally would prefer to see more players similar to Richarlison in the team - talented, pacy, technically sound, potential to improve, hard working.
Is he yet the finished article? No. But he has a LOT more going for him than just singling out his presumed diving as some are claiming.
40 Posted 07/11/2019 at 22:35:30
The bad point is that our system just doesn't allow this imo, because we don't have a fetch-and-carry midfielder.
Imagine playing central by yourself, then the ball goes slightly wide, you move across hoping to get into a good position to receive the ball, but then it's switched 50 yards onto the opposite flank, leaving you at least 60 yards from the play, and totally out of the game unless your full-back can take on his opposite number and look to get in a cross.
The full-back rarely tries this, he plays it back, you shift across to that side of the pitch only to see another 50-yard switch leaving you in no-man's land once again.
This is how I view most of our play, and that's why we never move the opposing centre-halves around, so even when we do get it wide, in decent areas, they are usually in position to read the cross.
41 Posted 08/11/2019 at 00:19:59
He needs a bit of tough love on the training ground. United did it with Ronaldo, Spurs did it with Bale. We need to do it with Richarlison...
42 Posted 08/11/2019 at 00:58:17
Neymar once said he would like to be his mentor.
44 Posted 08/11/2019 at 21:20:47
I suspect this debate about Richie is fairly academic. If Everton don't drastically improve very soon, then in the not too distant future Richie will be gone to a bigger club, for a nice profit to Everton, who can then invest in a younger promising talent so that the whole cycle can carry on as has been the case with Everton for some time.
45 Posted 08/11/2019 at 23:52:58
46 Posted 09/11/2019 at 01:28:20
But I like him and for now he is Our star player, so...
47 Posted 09/11/2019 at 11:50:34
And another, talks up Johnny Lundstram's England prospects ….. Doooh!
48 Posted 09/11/2019 at 14:55:29
Nicholas don't kid yourself he struggles to get a game for Watford and lasts about 5 minutes before he's knackered.
50 Posted 13/11/2019 at 18:44:20
He gets wrestled to the ground in clear sight of the ref at a corner as the ball is in play. Even MoTD sees it as a clear and obvious penalty. Fuckall. No VAR. Fuckall.
Where he does lose My support is in two respects:
1) He wears the worlds most miserable expresssion upon his face, even when he has scored. Always.
2) He makes a banquet out of a sandwich. Far too often.
Answers are simple;
1) Smile. Smile at refs. Smile at assistant referees. Smile at teammates. Smile at the crowd. Show how GOOD that you are. Show how confident you are that you can do this time and time over.
2) You aren't that fragile lad. If you just did happen to be such a tender flower then opponents are going to increasingly target you as a wusspants. In short, "You are asking to be bullied. Shame the bullies with talent. Pele did".
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