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The Backstory Behind Richarlison and Michail Antonio’s Bitter Rift

There is no denying that ‘humour’ is England’s USP. Under the gamut of “British humour”, falls ‘banter’, a word very idiosyncratic with football, especially Premier League fans. Although quite funny seeing from a third perspective it’s not everyone’s cup of tea especially if one is at the receiving end of it.  

Last season a video call between Newcastle forward Callum Wilson and West Ham striker Michail Antonio got fans talking for all the wrong reasons. What appeared to be a laugh between the lads now seems derogatory from one perspective and just ‘banter’ from another.  

“He’s scored four times this season, three of the times he’s been offside, and he’s taken his top off four times this season,” said Antonio. “He’s got four yellows – he’s almost on suspension,” replied Wilson. The joke is on none other than Tottenham’s 50 million signing under Antonio Conte, Richarlison.  

The particular video which came under former interim Spurs manager Ryan Mason’s time has grabbed the headlines recently as Antonio’s teammate at West Ham, Lucas Paqueta (also Richarlison’s teammate at Brazil) has informed Antonio that Richarlison will refuse to shake hands with him when they meet at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on December 6.  

It’s safe to say that the joke hasn’t gone down well with Richarlison as he has clearly shown his frustration and retaliated by commenting on Tik Tok, “How many goals do both have at the Qatar World Cup?”, as he scored for Brazil. Ryan Mason wasn’t impressed either as he said he would have never done the same as a player.  

Michail Antonio might have understood that not everyone has a thick skin and a progressive attitude towards banter as he refused to comment on Richarlison when asked about Harry Kane’s replacement at Spurs on The Footballer’s Football Podcast.

He said, “I am no longer commenting on Richarlison”. “It’s got to the stage where I feel that some people are a little touchy”.  

He further added, “I am not going to talk about the person that is in that position. I am just going to say that Tottenham need a striker. I will leave it at that – It’s banter. We banter with each other”. 

“I have gone to Paqueta. They play with each other. I have said ‘what’s wrong with your boy? It’s a bit of banter. I don’t understand why he is taking it so personally’, to the stage where his manager has to talk”.  

“Lucas is like ‘it’s just how he is, Mickey. I told him that’s how you are. But he says ‘no, no, no. When we play against them. I am not going to shake his hand”.  

Richarlison is no stranger to controversy as he has clashed with Jamie Carragher as well and never shies away from being bold and opinionated. Although his form while wearing the white shirt isn’t the same as his ego, he would surely like to change that as Tottenham needs a clinical finisher as their club legend has left for the Bavarian giants.