|Full name||Richarlyson Barbosa Felisbino|
|Date of birth||27 December 1982|
|Place of birth||Natal, Brazil|
|Height||1.76 m (5 ft 9 1⁄2 in)|
|Playing position||Defensive midfielder|
|Current club||Atlético Mineiro|
|2003||→ Fortaleza (loan)||16||(1)|
|2003–2005||→ Salzburg (loan)||27||(2)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 6 December 2011.
† Appearances (Goals).
He currently plays with brother Alecsandro, that transferred recently to Atlético-MG; Alecsandro is a striker. Richarlyson is also a brother-in-law to Fluminense's Deco and his father, Reinaldo (Lela) Felisbino, was a left back who played for Coritiba in the 1980s.
Richarlyson made his footballing debut at Itu's Ituano FC youth squad, where he won the Copa São Paulo de Juniores. "Ricky" then moved on to EC Santo André, a club from the ABC region in Greater São Paulo which his father, the former footballer Lela, has also defended during his playing career. Loaned to Ceará side Fortaleza EC and Austrian top flight club Salzburg, the midfielder drew the attention of São Paulo city giants SE Palmeiras. Concerns about a possible change of his nickname – from his first name, Richarlyson, to his last name, Felisbino – due to the relatively complicated pronounce and spelling, upon Palmeiras' request, made Richarlyson uneasy about joining the club, which culminated in a last-minute decision to instead move to São Paulo FC, one of Palmeiras' rivals.
A court battle between São Paulo and Santo André delayed his debut for the Morumbi club, even after both clubs have reached a settlement. With few opportunities in the main squad, Richarlyson languished until the hiring of the coach Muricy Ramalho. Under the command of Ramalho, Richarlyson went on to have the best phase of his career as a footballer, being an integral part of São Paulo's three Campeonato Brasileiro championships in a row. At the peak of his career, Richarlyson was called by the Brazil national football team's coach Dunga for their friendly against Republic of Ireland. The former captain of the Seleção greatly praised Ricky's versatility and ability to play for various positions and different roles on the pitch. Richarlyson, despite his success for the club, was a target of constant scrutiny and abuse over allegations of homosexuality, to the point where even São Paulo supporters would sing demeaning and homophobic chants against him.
After a long spell at São Paulo, however, his form seemed to worsen. Becoming increasingly reckless, Richarlyson was sent off in important matches, such as the Copa Libertadores fixture against Universitario de Deportes, and a match against Fluminense FC, when he called the match referee a "son of a bitch", telling him to "go fuck himself", and then ending his rant by stating that the referee "besides it all, he's [also] a faggot" in a burst of anger when leaving the field. The constant sending-offs, alongside a lack of technical quality, have forced São Paulo to negotiate the midfielder.
Clube Atlético Mineiro, from Belo Horizonte, looking for reinforcements, signed the player, as the year's "top signing" for the team. A constant presence in the starting eleven, Ricky achieved success with the Champions of the Ice, winning the 2012 Campeonato Mineiro and making a stellar campaign in the 2012 Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, taking the Galo to the 2013 Copa Libertadores after a 13-year absence from the competition. In 2013, Richarlyson was joined by his brother, the forward Alecsandro, being the first time the two brothers have played together for the same team.
Defamation grounded on his sexuality
On 25 June 2007, the newspaper Agora reported that a football player of a major team would come out of the closet as a homosexual in an exclusive interview for the weekly newsmagazine Fantástico aired on Rede Globo channel. The following day, Brazilian sports commentator Milton Neves invited the director of Palmeiras football club José Cyrillo Júnior for his live TV show Debate Bola. During the show, Mr. Neves asked Mr. Júnior if the player who was coming out was from his team. Mr Júnior answered that "Richarlyson was almost taken by Palmeiras". Despite the public and the press overall seeing this as a potential give-away, the player didn't pronounced himself about the case. The fact that Richarlyson turned down an offer from Palmeiras in the last minute, just before signing for rivals São Paulo put him in loggerheads with former Palmeiras Director of Football Salvador Hugo Palaia, which raised speculations about the team being homophobic. The rumors proved to be false later.
Richarlyson's attorney, Renato Salge, filed a lawsuit against Mr. Júnior for moral damages and defamation. Judge Manoel Maximiano Junqueira Filho dismissed the lawsuit and justified his decision by stating that football is a "virile, masculine sport and not a homosexual one" and that, on those grounds, "Richarlyson should be forever banished by FIFA and never be allowed to play football again". He suggested that a homosexual player should leave the team or start one of his own. After this ruling, the judge was given fifteen days to explain himself to the Justice Council of São Paulo and was also taken to court by Mr. Salge.
- Santo André
- São Paulo
- Atlético Mineiro
- As of 15 August 2009
- (Portuguese) globoesporte.globo.com
- (Portuguese) saopaulofc.net
- Richarlyson at cbf.com.br (Portuguese)
- (English) sambafoot
- "Por que Richarlyson, ou Felisbino, não jogará no Palmeiras. Apesar do convite de Luiz Felipe Scolari… – Blog do Cosme Rímoli – R7". Esportes.r7.com.
- "Richarlyson – Palmeiras coleciona série de negociações frustradas – Fotos – MSN Esportes". Esportes.br.msn.com. 17 August 2012.
- "Técnico diz que versatilidade levou Richarlyson à seleção – 22/01/2008 – UOL Esporte – Futebol". Esporte.uol.com.br.
- "O jogador mais macho do Brasil – Futebol – Placar". Placar.abril.com.br. 18 April 1943.
- "Richarlyson expulso. Pena para o São Paulo que o STJD não é da Conmebol | Blog do Birner". Blogdobirner.virgula.uol.com.br. 29 April 2010.
- "Árbitro relata que foi chamado de "viado" por Richarlyson – Futebol – Placar". Placar.abril.com.br. 22 November 2010.
- "Superesportes – Atlético: notícias sobre o time mineiro – Polivalente, Richarlyson já disse a Dorival que prefere atuar no meio-campo". Mg.superesportes.com.br. 23 December 2010.
- "Richarlyson é anunciado como reforço do Atlético por Kalil, via Twitter – 17/12/2010 – UOL Esporte – Futebol". Esporte.uol.com.br. 17 December 2010.
- "Copa Libertadores da América 2000 – Clube Atletico Mineiro – Enciclopedia Galo Digital" (in (Portuguese)). Galodigital.com.br.
- "Atlético confirma supremacia no Mineiro, vence América e é campeão invicto – Atlético-MG – Superesportes". Mg.superesportes.com.br. 13 May 2012.
- "Irmãos Alecsandro e Richarlyson viram alvo de brincadeiras no Atlético-MG e entram no clima – Futebol – UOL Esporte". Esporte.uol.com.br.
- "Brazil judge in gay football row". BBC News. 4 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
- "Seleção Brasileira (Brazilian National Team) 2008–2009". Rsssfbrasil.com.