Rafa Benitez addresses Richarlison’s future and how Everton plan to nullify Cristiano Ronaldo against Man Utd

The key talking points from the Toffees manager’s pre-match press conference.

Rafa Benitez has insisted Richarlison remains happy at Everton after meeting with the striker and his representatives.

The Brazil international recently admitted he doesn’t know what the future holds for him after being heavily linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.

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Richarlison insisted any move would have to be right for himself and the Toffees.

The former Watford forward will again be absent for Saturday’s trip to Manchester United due to a knee injury.

And Benitez stressed that Richarlison’s full focus is getting back to full fitness and scoring goals for Everton.

In his pre-match press conference, the manager said: “To be fair, yesterday I was having lunch with him and he was happy.

“We were talking about the future and his situation. The main thing is to be sure he is fit.

Everton striker Richarlison. Picture: Peter Byrne - Pool/Getty Images

“I was talking with his people and it was a very nice situation, everything was positive and the player [wants] to be fit, score goals and do well for us. That is it.”

Nullifying Ronaldo

Everton have to thwart the threat of Cristiano Ronaldo against United.

After returning to Old Trafford on transfer deadline day, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner has bagged seven goals in as many games.

Benitez worked with Ronaldo while manager of Real Madrid and knows his quality.

But the Spaniard stressed Everton can’t just focus on Ronaldo against the Red Devils.

Benitez said: “I think Cristiano is a great professional. Even at his age, he is doing really well. We have to keep an eye on him but we have to keep an eye on the rest of the team. They have so many good players, anyone can make the difference.

“We have to concentrate from the first minute until the last minute. If you name any of the other players, I’m sure all the offensive players can score goals and make the difference on their own.

Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United. Picture: Michael Regan/Getty Images

“You can’t concentrate on one player, even as good as Cristiano. We have to have a game-plan trying to stop them be positive and score goals.

“When I was coaching in him Real Madrid, he was one of the best professionals. He was always training well, always available and taking care of his body. He was a great example as a professional.

“He’s one of the best players, for sure. I was lucky enough to have good players in my team but he’s one of the best. It’ll be good to see him but away from our goal.”

Injury update

Benitez confirmed that Seamus Coleman (hamstring) and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (thigh) will again be absent.

Both are back training on the grass but are not available.

To make matters worse, Benitez revealed that Alex Iwobi has sustained a “little problem” and may not be involved.

Andre Gomes also remains sidelined but Jean Philippe-Gbamin is back in full training.