Roberto Firmino has been backed to shine at the international level by compatriot Rivaldo after reaching a Premier League goal landmark.
Firmino became the first Brazilian to strike for the 50th time in the English top flight in Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Burnley last weekend.
He has emerged as one of the European champions’ most important players, but remains underappreciated outside of Merseyside.
That was reflected at the 2018 World Cup, when he was restricted to substitute appearances as Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus got the nod up front for Brazil.
But Rivaldo, who won the competition in 2002, reckons his combination of ‘personality, goals and movement’ can make him an invaluable asset for his country.
“Roberto Firmino has become the first Brazilian player to reach 50 goals on Premier League and I must congratulate him for that achievement,” the 74-cap attacker said, as quoted by the Star.
“He is a player of great personality, with a particular taste for scoring goals and also very clever on his movements near the opposite goal.
“He didn’t play in the starting 11 at the last World Cup but looks like he will have a good chance of starring for his country in 2022 because he is a top forward.”
While it does suit Liverpool if the footballing world underestimates Firmino, allowing him to operate as a silent assassin, it’s frustrating to see him not get the recognition he deserves.
In a wider sense, it might suggest that goalscoring records are overemphasised at the expense of all-round contribution.