Everton: Richarlison needs to repay Rafa Benitez after allowing him to go to the Olympics

Richarlison (pictured) will be key to Rafa Benitez's success as Everton's new manager

Rafa Benitez will be relying on Richarlison to help make his controversial appointment as Everton boss easier to digest for the Goodison Park faithful.

Everton’s decision to hire Benitez as their new manager earlier this summer was met with vitriol by a large section of the club’s fanbase, considering how he holds legendary status with the red half of Merseyside and fierce rivals Liverpool.

The Spaniard knows he’s in for a tough start back in the city where he’s enjoyed so much success but one way to start winning over those who so vehemently oppose him is by simply getting results.

The Spaniard was appointed as Toffees boss earlier this season – dividing the fanbase in the process

Rafa Benitez (right) needs Richarlison (left) to shine in his debut season at Everton manager

Richarlison celebrates after scoring against Saudi Arabia at the Olympics on Wednesday

Richarlison celebrates after scoring against Saudi Arabia at the Olympics on Wednesday

For some that will not be enough, but it is at least a start.

Even under the very much adored Carlo Ancelotti, results and performances were patchy, leaving the club with a 10th-place finish before Real Madrid came calling and tempted him back to the Spanish capital.

While Dominic Calvert-Lewin enjoyed his best season in front of goal, scoring 21 goals in 39 appearances, Richarlison went missing for large parts of the season and enjoyed small patches, only managing seven goals in 34 Premier League appearances.

The 24-year-old has since been linked with a reunion with Ancelotti at the Bernabeu, who described the Brazilian as a ‘complete striker’ in March.

Former Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti (left) reportedly wants to take Richarlison to Real Madrid

Former Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti (left) reportedly wants to take Richarlison to Real Madrid

The 24-year-old struggled to maintain a good run of form last season as Everton finished 10th

The 24-year-old struggled to maintain a good run of form last season as Everton finished 10th

He lived up to the billing last week after scoring a sublime 23-minute first-half hat-trick against Germany at the Olympics – becoming the first ever Premier League player to net a treble at the Games.

Then, on Wednesday, he netted a brace as Brazil advanced to the quarter-finals of the men’s Olympic tournament with a 3-1 victory over Saudi Arabia.

But none of that would’ve been possible without Benitez’s help.

After a gruelling Premier League season, which then saw him represent Brazil at the Copa America just a few weeks later – a competition Brazil would lose in the final – Richarlison admitted to arguing with the Everton heirarchy over allowing him to go off to Tokyo to play even more football at the Olympics.

His involvement in Japan would see him miss the start of the new campaign, leaving Everton chiefs to predictably deny him his wish.

But with the chance of playing at the Olympics not coming around often, Richarlison revealed he sought the help of Benitez to make sure he got what he wanted. 

He has since gone on to shine at the Olympics, scoring a hat-trick in his first game

He has since gone on to shine at the Olympics, scoring a hat-trick in his first game

Richarlison became the first Premier League player to score a hat-trick at the Games

Richarlison became the first Premier League player to score a hat-trick at the Games 

Benitez helped persuade Everton into letting their striker leave and participate in Tokyo 2020

Benitez helped persuade Everton into letting their striker leave and participate in Tokyo 2020 

The Everton striker nodded his side back in front against Saudi Arabia in Wendesday's game

The Everton striker nodded his side back in front against Saudi Arabia in Wendesday’s game

‘I had a fight there, right?’ Richarlison admitted. ‘I spent the whole day arguing with Everton, with the director. I also called the new coach.

‘It’s very important for me to get this experience, get more mature because it’s going to be important to me.’

With the threat of Real looming and a highly-rated striker not being supported, Benitez stepped in and helped persuade his new club to allow him to go to Tokyo and represent his country.

And after taking control of what could have proved to be an awkward summer situation, Benitez has asked Richarlison to repay the favour once he returns from the Olympic Games later on this summer.

‘I was in contact with him, he had the Olympic Games in the back of his head, we needed to sort out his situation and he is fine,’ Benitez told the club’s official website.

‘He is happy because he can go there… and he knows he has to give us something back because we were supporting him.

Benitez says the striker has to return the favour to Everton after granting his Olympics wish

Benitez says the striker has to return the favour to Everton after granting his Olympics wish

‘That [not being involved at the start of the season] could be something we can consider not great in the beginning but will be a massive boost for us in the rest of the season because he will try to deliver.’

Should Richarlison return to Merseyside happy and with a gold medal in his pocket, it could turn out to be a masterstroke from Benitez in a season where he will desperately need it.

Getting Richarlison firing alongside Calvert-Lewin and Co will most certainly help the Spanish boss in bettering Ancelotti’s finish in his first season at Goodison Park.

And while it will take a near miracle for Everton fans to forget Benitez’s ‘small club’ remarks and Liverpool past, getting this Toffees squad singing off the same hymn sheet will certainly be a good start.

Getting the Brazilian striker firing will help Benitez in uniting the Toffees fanbase over time

Getting the Brazilian striker firing will help Benitez in uniting the Toffees fanbase over time

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