Richarlison had longed for the moment and how it showed as he tearfully hugged friends and family at the end of his victorious Champions League debut for Tottenham.
The talented 25-year-old had everything he wanted at former club Everton in terms of personal happiness and the admiration of fans who loved the Brazilian striker’s heart-on-sleeve approach.
However, what he didn’t have – and wasn’t going to get – was the elite stage of European football, and that was his ultimate goal.
Richarlison won the hearts of Everton fans with his passion and significant contribution as they narrowly avoided relegation last season, but in the end he wanted more than the Merseyside club that have so often found themselves in the league in recent years in a state of chaos and transition.
It made the parting of ways inevitable and Richarlison joined Spurs for £60million.
He finally made it to the Champions League on Wednesday and what an impression he made. He has proven to be a strong addition to manager Antonio Conte’s powerful attacking weapons.
Richarlison was denied his first Spurs goal by VAR against Fulham on Saturday and that will have made opening his account in the Champions League group game against Marseille even sweeter.
Conte already has England captain Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski to fall back on, but against an in-depth Marseille side it was Richarlison who made the crucial intervention.
Make no mistake, this player can be a divisive figure, whether he’s occasionally hitting the deck too quickly or juggling the ball to the fury of opponents and opposing fans, like he did in Spurs’ recent win at Nottingham Forest.
That shouldn’t belie the special talent Richarlison possesses, coupled with an insatiable desire for hard work and goal that endears him to his managers, teammates and supporters.
He’s already made a name for himself at Spurs and the way he pulled them out of trouble on their Champions League return will only cement his popularity.
Spurs had to fight long and hard, often well short of their best, to break through against Marseille, who were composed and organized even after being reduced to 10 men early in the second half when Chancel Mbemba over a professional Fouls was sent off on son.
Richarlison came on with a header from Ivan Perisic’s cross with 14 minutes to go, and five minutes later he nailed an even better header when he saw Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s shot past Marseille goalkeeper Pau Lopez.
Richarlison said of signing for Spurs: “I’ve always said my dream was to play in the Champions League and now that dream is coming true. Maybe I will cry because it will be a special moment. When the time comes, I’ll be calm. Emotionally.”
And he certainly was as he walked to the touchline at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after making what would have been his perfect Champions League run.
Conte said: “I remember when Richy signed for us he said: ‘I can’t wait to play in the Champions League and hear the music.’ When a player says those words, it means they have great desire and will.”
In broader context, Richarlison’s performance and his two goals showed exactly why Conte was so keen to secure his signature as the Italian continues his relentless, passionate pursuit of success.
Conte appears to have plenty of attacking options but this is a manager who always wants more and he believes Richarlison will add goals and score this season. The way he decided this game will only reinforce that conviction.
The Spurs manager said: “We signed Richy because we were trying to sign a player who can play in all three positions. Because of that, we had no doubts about signing him. We did this quickly because our idea and vision was very clear precisely for this reason.
“Richy is more of a striker than Deki [Kulusevski] but at the same time he can play in Son’s position, Harry Kane’s position and Deki’s position. For us this is very important because when you shoot you certainly don’t lose quality.
“I’m happy for Richy because he deserves to have a night like this.”
Spurs have struggled on occasion this season but there is new steel under Conte giving them the opportunity to get the job done, whether it’s clinching a point at Chelsea in the 96th minute or battling their own poor form to finally defeat Marseille.
This is a Spurs team that is starting to resemble their manager and if that manager is Antonio Conte then that can only be a good thing.
Son is still looking for his brilliant best who will surely return but Richarlison’s arrival can make up for that and certainly has here.
Spurs were keen to get off to a good start, particularly at home in Group D. They should emerge successful from a group that also included Sporting Lisbon and Eintracht Frankfurt, but the top three points set the platform and it was Richarlison who made sure they got her.
He was overcome with emotion at the end of this win, but Richarlison can think about getting his Spurs career to work in the most satisfying way.